Tampa Bay Rays (48-53) at St. Louis Cardinals (54-46)
Wednesday, July 23 - 7:15 PM EST
Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri
The Tampa Bay Rays continue increase optimism that they can contend for a playoff spot after spending most of June with the worst record in baseball. The Rays try to extend their season-high winning streak to seven and finish a perfect road trip when they visit the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday in the finale of a two-game interleague set. Tampa Bay knocked All-Star Adam Wainwright out of the game in the fifth inning of the 7-2 win Tuesday and is averaging six runs during its win streak.
Evan Longoria, who became franchise’s all-time RBI leader Tuesday, is starting to warm up with a five-game hit streak and James Loney is 9-for-16 in the last four games for the Rays. Matt Carpenter snapped out of a mini slump with a single and a homer Tuesday while Matt Holliday has produced three homers and 10 RBIs in his last 10 games for the Cardinals. St. Louis and Tampa Bay have matching 5-8 records in interleague play.
TV: 7:15 p.m. ET; Sun Sports (Tampa Bay), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays RH Alex Cobb (5-6, 4.08 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Lance Lynn (11-6, 3.13)
Cobb is 3-0 in his last four starts despite not exactly looking dominant, allowing 10 earned runs and 24 hits over 22 1/3 innings in that span. The 26-year-old is 5-2 with a 4.05 ERA on the road this season while going 0-4 with a 4.10 mark at home. Jhonny Peralta is 0-for-6 with four strikeouts against Cobb, who will face the Cardinals for the first time and stands 5-3 with a 3.83 ERA in interleague play.
Lynn has won three consecutive starts after his worst outing of the year in which he permitted seven runs (six earned) in two innings versus the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Indiana native has yielded four runs during his win streak and is 7-2 with a 2.84 ERA in 11 starts at home. Lynn pitched one inning of relief in his career against the Rays in 2011, surrendering three runs including a homer by Matt Joyce.
1. The Cardinals, who are last in the National League in homers with 65, have belted 17 in 17 games during July after going deep twice Tuesday.
2. Joyce had a pair of hits in the series opener and is 7-for-21 with five RBIs while hitting safely in six consecutive contests.
3. St. Louis 2B Kolten Wong is 13-for-41 overall with five homers and 11 runs scored since July 6 despite going hitless in four at-bats Tuesday.
PREDICTION: Rays 6, Cardinals 3