Over the past couple seasons, the Citrus Series has swung significantly in the Rays' favor. Tuesday night, Kevin Slowey and the Marlins look to reverse that trend.
The Rays have won 10 of their last 11 games against Miami, and they've been flat-out dominant during that time, posting a 1.75 ERA and outscoring the Fish, 69-27. That includes Monday's series opener, which the Rays won, 10-6, to even the all-time series at 43 wins apiece.
"They have a great lineup," said Slowey. "They've had a great lineup as long as I've been playing."
Slowey (1-5, 3.30 ERA) exited his last start after five innings with a tight lat muscle. The right-hander was enjoying a strong outing against the Phillies, having allowed just one run with six strikeouts.
Thanks to an off-day Thursday, Slowey was gifted a bit of extra time between starts. He threw a pain-free bullpen session on Saturday in Chicago.
"I feel 100 percent and ready to go," Slowey said. "We didn't have an MRI done to see anything. But the doctor immediately checked on me, and he said, 'If it was a cramp, it was more significant. If it was a strain, it was more minor.'"
Opposing Slowey will be Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, who is 2-2 on the season with a 5.37 ERA. Hellickson is coming off one of his best starts of the year, in which he tossed eight innings and allowed just two runs on four hits against Toronto last Wednesday.
"I felt really good the last four or five starts when I've struggled a little bit, just one really bad inning that hurt me. Other than that I felt great. It was nice to see the results last game with how I felt and how I thought I pitched."
The Rays have now won two straight since they dropped to .500 over the weekend. They are 6-1 this season in Interleague Play and have gone 59-38 since 2008.
Marlins: Sanabia to DL
The Marlins placed right-hander Alex Sanabia on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a groin injury. In his place, the club called up lefty reliever Dan Jennings.
"I'm able to throw my fastball on any count and working both sides of the plate," said Jennings, who has caught fire recently with a 0.68 ERA in his last 10 outings for Triple-A New Orleans. "I've been able to throw my fastball better than I have in the past."
The Marlins are still unsure as to who will start Friday's game in Sanabia's place. Manager Mike Redmond said Wade LeBlanc, who has been pitching out of the bullpen, is an option.
Rays: Price throws
Reigning American League Cy Young Award winner David Price threw Monday for the first time since he was placed on the DL on May 16 with a strained left triceps.
"Getting out there, playing catch and feeling as good as I did, it's definitely a relief," Price said. "I didn't feel like I was going to have negative news at this point. But it's definitely good to have a positive."
The left-hander struggled in his nine starts before sustaining the injury, going 1-4 with a 5.24 ERA.
• Marlins right fielder Marcell Ozuna, who singled in the first inning Monday, has hit safely in 12 straight games, the longest by a Miami player this year.
• More than half of Miguel Olivo's 34 career hits against Tampa Bay have gone for extra bases. The Marlins' backstop has eight doubles, one triple and nine home runs versus the Rays.
• The Rays' wives rallied in the last inning with two runs to edge the Marlins' wives, 13-12. Ashley Koehler, wife of Tom Koehler, and Kimberly Dunn, Mike Dunn's wife, were each 4-for-4 with two RBIs.