An imposing Tampa Bay Rays rotation is on the verge of getting stronger
On Saturday, hard-throwing right-hander Tyler Glasnow is scheduled to make his 2023 debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers in St. Petersburg, Fla
After rolling to a 9-3 win in the series opener on Friday, the Rays are in position to take the interleague series
Glasnow opened the season on the injured list due to a left oblique strain. The 29-year-old cleared his final rehab hurdle by breezing through six innings for Triple-A Durham on Sunday.
"Really excited," Glasnow told the media recently. "It's been a while, just doing the rehab stuff -- going and doing all the minor league stuff again. Just glad I'm feeling good and ready to go."
The Dodgers counter with future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw (6-4, 2.98 ERA) taking the mound after being away from the club a few days due to personal reasons
On Friday, Kershaw returned from the bereavement list after he returned to home in Texas due to the death of his mother.
Being away from the team changed Kershaw's between-starts preparation. But the veteran told reporters on Friday that he should be ready.
"I'm right where I need to be," Kershaw told reporters.
In Friday's win, the Rays hammered out 13 hits, including home runs from Yandy Diaz and Jose Siri. They added four stolen bases
"Facing a veteran pitcher (Noah Syndergaard), we had a pretty good approach against him," Rays manager Kevin Cash said after the game. "We hit some balls hard and just kind of continued at-bats after at-bats and put a lot of pressure on him.
Freddie Freeman had two hits for the Dodgers, extending his hitting streak to 15 games
Freeman, Will Smith and J.D. Martinez each had two hits on Friday, but the Dodgers left 11 on base and were 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position
The Rays and Dodgers are meeting in the regular season for the first time since the squads squared off in the 2020 World Series, which Los Angeles won in six games
The past few seasons, Glasnow has been sidelined by injuries. In 2021, the right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery, and he hasn't pitched in a big league game since facing the Cleveland Guardians last October in the American League wild-card game.
Glasnow's return is at a time the Rays' rotation is without Jeffrey Springs and Drew Rasmussen
Even with a few key injuries to its starters, the Rays have been dominant
Glasnow doesn't have much history facing the Dodgers. In four innings, all in relief, he has allowed six runs, leading to an inflated 13.50 ERA
In two career regular-season starts against the Rays, Kershaw is 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA in 14 1/3 innings
The Dodgers have been hit hard by injuries, especially in the rotation. Kershaw has helped pick up the slack, but in his last start, a 10-5 loss at the St. Louis Cardinals, the southpaw allowed four runs in 3 2/3 innings
"So frustrating," Kershaw said after his last start. "Not a great time with guys doing down, obviously (I'd) like to get some length. So disappointing to feel like you let the guys down, especially the bullpen."
--Field Level Media