Right-hander Jacob Faria can become the second Tampa Bay pitcher in franchise history to win his first three starts when the Rays visit the Detroit Tigers for the finale of a four-game series on Sunday afternoon. Faria, a former 10th-round pick in 2011, allowed just two runs combined in his first two major-league starts and can equal the mark of Jeremy Hellickson, who won his first three games with the Rays in 2010.
Faria can also help Tampa Bay earn a split in the series after Alex Colome got the final five outs in a 3-2 victory Saturday and Mallex Smith extended his career-best hitting streak to nine games (15-for-34). The Rays have won two of five as they approach the final game of their road trip and the Tigers are 2-3 on their homestand as it comes to a close Sunday. Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera continues to warm up as he homered for the second time in the series Saturday and extended his hitting streak to seven games (11-for-29) to raise his batting average 17 points to .280. Ian Kinsler has also hit in seven straight games for the Tigers after knocking in his team’s first run Saturday with a double.
TV: 1:10 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Tampa Bay), FSN Detroit
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays RH Jacob Faria (2-0, 1.42 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Buck Farmer (2-0, 3.52)
Faria allowed one run over 6 1/3 innings in each of his first major-league starts, taking injured Matt Andriese’s spot in the rotation, limiting the Chicago White Sox to six hits and Toronto to three last time out. The 23-year-old Californian posted 13 strikeouts in those two starts after fanning 84 in 58 2/3 frames with Triple-A Durham while going 6-1. Faria was 5-10 with a 3.99 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 151 innings between Triple-A and Double-A in 2016.
Farmer struggled against Arizona last Tuesday, permitting six runs on nine hits over 2 1/3 innings after starting the season with 13 scoreless frames in a pair of wins. The 26-year-old Georgia Tech product, who came into the season 0-6 in the majors, gave up six hits with 16 strikeouts in his first two starts for the Tigers in 2017. Colby Rasmus is 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts versus Farmer, who has yielded one run and two hits in 1/3 of an inning against the Rays.
1. The Rays acquired INF-DH Trevor Plouffe from Oakland on Saturday in exchange for cash considerations and he is expected to join the team Monday.
2. Cabrera’s homer Saturday was the 453rd of his career, passing Carl Yastrzemski for 37th on the major league’s all-time list.
3. Tampa Bay INF Daniel Robertson is 4-for-7 with five RBIs in the last two games after making a pair of errors in the series opener.
PREDICTION: Rays 5, Tigers 3