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    The Tampa Bay Rays finished the second-best homestand in their history [url=http://www.giantscheapshops.com/cheap-authentic-saquon-barkley-jersey]Authentic Saquon Barkley Jersey[/url] , with a much easier path between now and the All-Star Game as they try to claw their way back into wild-card contention.

    Tampa Bay (41-40) went 8-1 at Tropicana Field, finishing a grueling stretch of 16 games against the New York Yankees, Houston Astros and Washington Nationals and going 10-6 in those games to rise back above .500.

    Now the Rays have a stretch of 16 straight games against teams with losing records, including a three-game series at the Miami Marlins (34-51) starting Monday.

    The Rays have dominated with their patchwork pitching staff, allowing a total of seven runs in their last six games, with five wins and a 1-0 loss. They took three of four from Houston to close out the homestand and hope to continue the success to take some positive momentum into the All-Star break.

    “The fact that we have been winning and everyone has been coming together at clutch moments has been great,” said outfielder Mallex Smith, who had a late solo home run in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Houston. “We’ve been jelling as a team. We’ve been feeding off one another. It seems like someone new coming through at the right time every day.”

    Next for Tampa Bay is Nathan Eovaldi (2-3 [url=http://www.officialkings.com/authentic-adidas-jeff-carter-jersey]Jeff Carter Jersey[/url] , 4.08 ERA), who played for the Marlins from 2012 to 2014 and will almost certainly fare better than his only career appearance against his former team. In June 2015, he played there with the Yankees and gave up nine hits and eight earned runs in less than an inning, leaving after two outs with a 108.00 ERA to show for it.

    Eovaldi has shown promise since returning from Tommy John surgery — his last start against Washington lasted six innings and he gave up no runs, one and and two walks with nine strikeouts.

    The Marlins will answer with Wei-Yin Chen, who knows the Rays from his days with the Baltimore Orioles. He has started 21 career games against Tampa Bay, more than any other opponent, and posted a 5-6 record with a 3.72 ERA.

    That’s considerably better than his overall numbers this year — he’s 2-5 with a 6.14 ERA [url=http://www.officialkings.com/authentic-adidas-nate-thompson-jersey]Nate Thompson Jersey[/url] , though his last start was solid. He limited Arizona to one run and five hits in six innings last week. Against Tampa Bay last year, he pitched well, holding the Rays to two runs and two hits in six innings.

    The in-state rivals will meet again right after the All-Star break for three more games, but the extended run against lesser opponents is something the Rays must dominate if they want to get back into wild-card contention.

    Even after winning eight of nine games, Tampa Bay is still 11 games behind Seattle for the second AL wild card. Still, being 42-41 after opening the season 1-8 isn’t bad, especially considering the injuries they’ve dealt with and the talent traded away since the end of last season.
    The struggling New York Mets made a couple of roster changes Friday, cutting Hansel Robles and demoting fellow reliever Paul Sewald to the minor leagues.

    Right-hander Drew Smith and outfielder Kevin Kaczmarski were called up from Triple-A Las Vegas before the opener of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    Robles was designated for assignment [url=http://www.officialkings.com/authentic-adidas-oscar-fantenberg-jersey]Authentic Oscar Fantenberg Jersey[/url] , removing him from the 40-man roster. New York has seven days to trade, release or send him outright to the minors. The right-hander was 2-2 with a 5.03 ERA in 16 appearances during his fourth season with the Mets. He allowed seven home runs and walked 10 in 19 2/3 innings.

    ”Hansel’s been with us quite a while. We’ve seen him pitch well. We’ve seen him pitch less well. We’ve got a number of other young relievers, some of whom we acquired last year at the trade deadline, we want to take a look at,” general manager Sandy Alderson said. ”So we just felt it was time to take a look at a couple of additional people. We’re excited to see what Drew Smith can do for us.”

    Sewald and fellow right-hander Chris Flexen were optioned to Las Vegas following Thursday’s loss at Colorado. Sewald was 0-4 with a 4.85 ERA in 26 games, and Flexen had an 11.57 ERA in 2 1/3 innings.

    Smith, obtained from Tampa Bay last July for first baseman Lucas Duda, was 4-1 with three saves and a 2.88 ERA in 23 combined games at Double-A Binghamton and Las Vegas this year.

    Kaczmarski was batting .346 with a .416 on-base percentage in 33 combined games between Class A St. Lucie and Las Vegas. He missed time while recovering from hernia surgery.

    Smith and Kaczmarski were both looking to make their major league debuts.

    New York began the day 31-41 and fourth in the NL East after losing 20 of its previous 26 games

    ”Given where we are currently [url=http://www.officialkings.com/authentic-adidas-tanner-pearson-jersey]Tanner Pearson Jersey[/url] , realistically, I think it’s important for us to see what other people can do,” Alderson said. ”Drew Smith, Kaczmarski, let’s see what they can do within the framework of trying to win some games immediately over the next few weeks. But what we’re trying to do is make sure we’re as competitive as we can possibly be over the next couple of weeks while at the same time not being afraid to try out new faces.”

    In another move, injured reliever A.J. Ramos (right shoulder surgery) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

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