07/22/12 5:35 PM ET
Pitchers rack up 32 K's in back-to-back games
By Bill Chastain and Greg Zeck / MLB.com
The previous team record of 28 was done twice: July 16-17, 2011, vs. Boston and June 28-29, 2011, vs. Cincinnati.
The Rays are just the sixth Major League team since 1918 to log 15 strikeouts in consecutive games, but the second team in the past week, after Milwaukee did it July 14-15 against Pittsburgh.
The Rays' staff has double-digit strikeouts in six of the past eight games, striking out 83 batters in 77 innings pitched during that stretch. The Rays lead the Major Leagues with 92 strikeouts since the All-Star break.
Matsui looking to get on track at plate
ST. PETERSBURG -- With designated hitter Luke Scott moved to the disabled list Saturday, Hideki Matsui is expected to see more at-bats.
The Rays are hoping the Japan native can turn his current slump around, one that has see him go hitless in his last 15 at-bats with seven strikeouts heading into Sunday's game.
"There might be something a little off mechanics-wise but it's certainly no excuse," Matsui said after going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts Saturday. "You just have to make the most out of the opportunities that are given to you."
Since joining Tampa Bay in late May, Matsui has yet to get going at the plate and is batting .149 on the season (14-for-94) with two homers and seven RBIs.
He maintains confidence despite the struggles from the plate and recent boos from the crowd at Tropicana Field.
"There's really not much you can do about that," Matsui said. "There's been opportunities there, and I haven't been able to make anything out of it so there's nothing wrong with the fans booing. The best thing you can do is try to make the most out of the next opportunity that comes."
Rays manager Joe Maddon said Matsui might be trying too hard. "He's not used to this kind of failure in a baseball sense because he's always been so good," Maddon said. "But you can never fault this guy's effort."
Matsui was not in the starting lineup Sunday.
Rays call up reliever Gomes for one day
ST. PETERSBURG -- Brandon Gomes had a whirlwind day on Sunday.
The right-hander was recalled by the Rays in the corresponding move for Cesar Ramos being sent back to Triple-A Durham after Saturday night's 2-1 loss to the Mariners.
Following Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Mariners, Gomes was optioned back to Durham.
"You see it happen enough that you know what's going on," Gomes said.
After Gomes got the word he would be joining the team Saturday night, he and his wife caught an early-morning flight for Tampa. He arrived at Tropicana Field at approximately 12:45 p.m.
"Any day here is a great day," Gomes said. "Unfortunately we didn't win. [Matt Moore] threw the ball great. But I'm sure the guys here in this clubhouse are too good not to keep us in ballgames. It's going to be fine."
Gomes, who did not pitch Sunday, is 2-2 with a 6.94 ERA in 10 appearances for the Rays this season. The club did not make an immediate announcement on who would take Gomes' spot on the roster.
Ramos was used for four innings Saturday night and held the Mariners scoreless on two hits with six strikeouts. Given the tired nature of the Rays' bullpen after Friday night's 14-inning win over the Mariners, the Rays wanted to have another arm available for Sunday.
Gomes has had success at the Major League level with the Rays. In 2011 he made 40 appearances over two stints, posting a 2-1 record with a 2.92 ERA. However, minor back surgery delayed him at the start of this season.
Gomes is 4-2 with a 2.30 ERA with six saves in 25 games for Durham.
Keppinger sizzling at plate against left-handers
ST. PETERSBURG -- Jeff Keppinger went 3-for-3 against Mariners left-hander Jason Vargas on Saturday night, improving his average against left-handers to .446 this season.
Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates (.459) is the only player in the Major Leagues with a higher average against left-handed pitchers.
Jason Bartlett holds the club record for success against left-handers in a season, hitting .379 in 2008.
Since coming off the disabled list on June 23, Keppinger is hitting .361 in 23 games; he was hitting .295 in 29 games before his stint on the disabled list. Overall, the second baseman is hitting .325.
Offense cools with runners in scoring position
ST. PETERSBURG -- The current homestand has been unkind to Rays hitters, who are hitting .180 with runners in scoring position during the homestand, including 0-for-6 Saturday night, 2-for-21 in the series and 5-for-35 over the past five games. Over the past four games, they have stranded 41 runners.
Since June 25, the Rays have been held to four runs or less in 18 of their 23 games and seven hits or less 15 times.
During this stretch the Rays are 9-14 and have scored 84 runs (3.65 per game), hit .230 and they have hit .194 with runners in scoring position.
In games the Rays collected 10 or more hits the team is 17-6.
The Rays offense has 30 double-digit strikeout games, which ranks as the second most in the American League behind Baltimore (33).