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Game thread XCCII - Royals at Rays

Bubic takes the mound looking to guarantee a series split

Kris Bubic throws a pitch Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

Has the novelty of having young guys at almost every position in the lineup and the rotation worn off yet? It certainly hasn’t for me. Helping that along have been Brady Singer, Daniel Lynch, and Kris Bubic who have all been pretty good lately.

You’d be forgiven if you haven’t been paying close attention and didn’t realize how well Bubic has been pitching. He started off the year very poorly and still carries a season ERA of 5.11 as a result. However, after returning from his May demotion on June 4 he’s pitched to a 3.89 ERA. No, that’s not ace material, but it is slightly better than the average MLB ERA of 3.98 this season. He’s still walking far too many batters - 4.02 per nine innings - but he’s striking out enough - 8.04 per nine - to get away with it, at least for now. Even better, he’s been limiting his home runs to 0.80 per nine, nearly half his career averages. You’ll survive a lot more walks when you aren’t giving up dingers than when you are.

The Rays will send Drew Rasmussen to the mound. Rasmussen has been exceptionally good this season with a 2.80 ERA. Even more frightening, he took a perfect game into the ninth inning against Baltimore on Sunday. I expect to be able to offer some hope in the form off a worn-out pitcher after such an escapade, but he managed to accomplish it in fewer than 90 pitches. Maybe he’ll at least be emotionally drained.

The Rays are also getting Manuel Margot back after a stint on the 60-day IL. He immediately slots into right field and their number three hole in the lineup. Before he was hurt, Margot was having a (potentially BABIP powered) breakout season at age 27, slashing .302/.365/.423/.788.