Randy Arozarena has answered an ice-cold stretch with a sizzling three-game surge.
Arozarena aims to continue his strong play on Thursday when the Tampa Bay Rays open a four-game series against the host Cleveland Indians.
The 26-year-old was 0-for-11 during a four-game stretch before going 7-for-13 with three homers, four RBIs and four runs scored in his last three contests.
Arozarena homered twice among his three hits in the Rays’ 5-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday afternoon.
“When he’s hot, man, he’s one of the best players on the planet,” teammate Austin Meadows said of Arozarena. “Obviously last year’s postseason, everybody knows. We know when he’s like that, it’s pretty ridiculous. So being able to hit those two home runs today was huge for us, and we know when he gets in a groove, it’s pretty unbelievable to watch.”
Meadows had a two-run single with two outs in the ninth inning on Wednesday as Tampa Bay recorded its 10th win in its last 13 games.
Cleveland hit rock bottom after seeing its skid extend to nine games following a sweep by the Rays earlier this month. The Indians, however, recorded their sixth win in the last nine outings with a 5-4 victory against the Houston Astros on Wednesday.
Cesar Hernandez opened the scoring with an RBI double in the third inning and added his career-high 16th homer of the season in the seventh on Wednesday. He went 3-for-10 with two runs scored in the Rays’ three-game sweep of the Indians from July 5-7.
Hernandez and company will try their luck against right-hander Luis Patino (1-2, 4.87 ERA), who will get the nod on Thursday after being added to the taxi squad from Triple-A Durham.
“I don’t know if we have an exact message to give him, but we know we want him to start,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said of the 21-year-old Patino. “He’s done good things in Triple-A. Young pitcher that we’ve got to find a way to give him a little bit of a lane, create a path for him to take off here for us. And hopefully, (Thursday) is the start of that.”
Patino last pitched for Tampa Bay on July 2, allowing seven runs on as many hits in 5 1/3 innings in an 11-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. He then yielded five earned runs in his next two appearances with the Bulls.
Patino has yet to face the Indians in his career.
Cleveland right-hander Cal Quantrill (2-2, 4.05) will make his 28th appearance — and 10th start — on Thursday.
Quantrill, 26, won his second straight start on Saturday after permitting one run on four hits in five innings against the Oakland Athletics.
Quantrill admitted that it took some time to get acclimated to being used as a starter, rather than a reliever.
“I think that we really committed these last three, four starts going through a starter’s routine, preparing to start, no fear of going back to the ‘pen,” Quantrill said after his last outing. “It has felt better. I feel like we’ve had a better approach. We’ve gotten better and made better pitches.”
Quantrill allowed two runs on three hits in 5 1/3 innings to win his lone career start versus Tampa Bay on Aug. 14, 2019.
–Field Level Media