D-backs beware: Rays' Yandy Diaz in fine hitting form

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Jun 25, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA;  Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Yandy Diaz (2) hits a single against the Kansas City Royals in the fifth inning at Tropicana Field.
Jun 25, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Yandy Diaz (2) hits a single against the Kansas City Royals in the fifth inning at Tropicana Field.
Image: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Yandy Diaz continues to find ways to contribute for the Tampa Bay Rays as he leads the team with the best record in the majors against the National League West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday in Phoenix

Diaz collected four singles on Sunday in the Rays' 3-1 victory against the Kansas City Royals to close out a 3-3 homestand. With a team-high .316 batting average, Diaz went 10-for-21 (.476) on the homestand with six runs


While Diaz is hitting .329 in the month of June, the 31-year-old hasn't been delivering much power. The last time the first baseman hit a home run came on May 26, and in the month of June, he has just four extra base hits (all doubles).

"He kind of reset himself on this homestand, where he's swinging the bat really well," Rays manager Kevin Cash said


In power mode or in contact mode, Diaz continues to deliver.

"I don't feel great," Diaz said through an interpreter, according to the Tampa Bay Times. "I'm just trying to make good contact with the ball and also trying to get on base for the team."

As Diaz looks to pick up his power pace, Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte has been coming up big at the plate

Marte went 5-for-12 with two home runs, five RBIs and five runs in the three-game weekend series at the San Francisco Giants. In Sunday's 5-2 win, the switching-hitting infielder connected on a crucial two-run home run in the eighth inning.


The Diamondbacks return home for a brief three-game set with the Rays following a 4-3 road trip

Marte's big game on Sunday helped Arizona salvage a win after the club dropped the first two games of the San Francisco series. The Diamondbacks have not been swept in a series of at least three games all season. At 15 games over .500, they're being pursued by the Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers


"I think we felt like we needed to respond to a couple of tough games where we let some things get away from us that we were able to control," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. "And I think the group walked in here (Sunday) very focused and understanding how important the game was for sure.

In Tuesday's series opener with the Rays, the D-backs have not officially announced a starter, but if Arizona stays on rotation, ace Zac Gallen is lined up


Gallen (9-2, 2.84 ERA) never has faced the Rays

The Rays have announced rookie Taj Bradley (5-3, 3.86) will get the nod in the series opener


Bradley will be making his 11th start, and the right-hander has fared better on the road. In five away starts, he is 2-1 (2.13) compared to a 5.70 ERA at home.

In his most recent start, a 7-2 win against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday, Bradley tossed a career-high six innings, with eight strikeouts and no walks.


The performance prompted catcher Christian Bethancourt to compare Bradley to All-Star left-hander Shane McClanahan, the Rays' ace

"You've got the right-handed McClanahan right here," Bethancourt said. "That's how I see him."


--Field Level Media