The Tampa Bay Rays headed into Thursday’s contest in Detroit on a season-high five-game winning streak, which was the longest current one in the American League. However, the Tigers took the suspense out of the game. Although Joe Maddon’s Tommy Tutone lineup manufactured a run in the top of the first, it would prove to be Tampa Bay’s only run of the night. Ian Kinsler and Victor Martinez each blasted two-run home runs before the Tigers’ first out of the game.
On this July 4, the Rays are below .500 for the first time since they were known as the Devil Rays. Almost a month ago, they were a season-worst 18 games below .500, but they have since made up 5.5 games in the American League East standings. With their recent success, the Rays hope to replicate their season-best eight-game winning streak that began on Independence Day in 2013. Just like last season, Tampa Bay enters July 4 winners of seven of its last 10 games, so Maddon hopes that lightning strikes twice for his last-place Rays.
With arguably their three best pitchers starting in the remaining games of their series in Detroit, the Rays look primed to begin a new winning streak. Alex Cobb toes the rubber on Friday with a 2.41 ERA in his career against the American League Central-leading Tigers. In his last start in Detroit, he struck out seven Tigers in 7.2 scoreless innings.