The Detroit Tigers finally solved Aaron Civale on Saturday. And they got a reprieve from facing July's American League Pitcher of the Month on Sunday
The Tigers defeated visiting Tampa Bay for the first time in five games this season 4-2 on Saturday. Civale, who was making his Rays debut after being acquired from Cleveland at the trade deadline, was 7-0 in 10 previous starts against Detroit
The Tigers were scheduled to face right-hander Tyler Glasnow (5-3, 3.15 ERA), who has been stingy in his last four starts, allowing five earned runs in 27 innings
Glasnow made six starts in July, posting a 2.11 ERA with 51 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings, holding opponents to a .186 batting average. That earned him AL Pitcher of the Month honors
But two hours before game time, the Rays scratched Glasnow because of back spasms. Instead, the Tigers will square off against veteran right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, who will be making his third appearance for Tampa Bay. The Rays signed him to a minor league deal in June after the Washington Nationals released him
Ramirez is 2-3 with a 5.34 ERA in 25 games this season. The 33-year-old has made two relief appearances for the Rays, giving up no runs and seven hits over five innings
Ramirez has started 94 of his 301 career games and has a 39-45 record and 4.25 ERA. Against the Tigers, he's 1-2 with an 8.84 ERA in seven games (three starts)
The Rays can ill afford another prolonged absence for Glasnow, who began the season on the injured list because of an oblique strain. Ace Shane McClanahan is on the injured list with forearm and has a visit scheduled this week with specialist Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angele
And Glasnow said before the back spasms flared up that he was finding his groove
"I think the last few starts I've definitely been able to set things up better and pitch and not just try and throw super hard," he said. "The timing feels a lot better and I just feel a lot more rhythmic and I think just accumulating a few more starts has gotten me back in the right direction.
Ramirez will be opposed by Matt Manning (3-3, 4.53), who has surrendered 11 earned runs in his last two starts. He gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings at Pittsburgh on Tuesday. All but one of those runs came in the second inning
"Kind of a frustrating game for me," Manning said. "I think I had some really good stuff, but I paid for it when I left balls over the plate. But I'm happy with the aggressiveness I'm pitching with right now. I think over time it's going to translate well.
Manning had one of the best outings of his career against Tampa Bay last season, tossing seven shutout innings
The Tigers lost the series opener 8-0 but got some big hits in Saturday's 4-2 win from Jake Rogers, who knocked in three of those runs. Akil Baddoo added a solo homer and scored two runs
"When you're pitching against them, it feels like they've got a threat everywhere,' Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said. "They have a good quality about their offense where they command the strike zone and they do damage. Those are two good characteristics.
Tampa Bay had won four of its previous five games. The Rays couldn't get enough timely hits, as they left 10 runners on base. Wander Franco reached base four times, including three hits, and has at least one hit in seven of the last eight games
After the teams finish the season series on Sunday, the Rays will return home for a six-game homestand, beginning against St. Louis on Tuesday. The Tigers will continue their seven-game homestand with four contests against Central Division leader Minnesota
--Field Level Medi