Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Dietrich Enns recorded his first major-league victory during a stellar relief outing at Detroit on Saturday, and he’s expecting to get a chance to gobble up more innings on Thursday night.
Manager Kevin Cash appears poised to go with right-handed opener Louis Head (1-0, 2.67 ERA) before turning the ball over to Enns in the opener of a four-game home series against the Tigers.
Enns (1-0, 3.38) did not allow a baserunner while striking out six in a four-inning stint that lifted the Rays to a 7-2 victory Saturday. The Rays’ rotation is in flux after Chris Archer was placed on the 10-day injured list with a hip injury sustained when he started last Saturday’s game.
“His performance was pretty awesome,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said of Enns, a 30-year-old left-hander. “Should be close to that 75-pitch mark heading into Thursday.”
His victory was extra special since he attended Central Michigan University and had family and former college teammates in the stands last week.
Enns will make his seventh appearance this season. His only previous taste of the major leagues came in 2017, when he pitched two games for Minnesota, including one start.
“I’m just trying to be as efficient as I can and really provide some length,” Enns said.
If Enns finishes strongly enough, he could get a taste of playoff action.
“I’m just trying to go out there and pitch as well as I can with the opportunity that I’m given,” he said. “Sure, it’d be great to be on the postseason roster, but we have to get there first. So my mindset is just (that) I’m given tomorrow, and let’s attack that.”
Left-hander Tyler Alexander will start the series opener for Detroit (70-76). Alexander (2-2, 4.09) faced the Rays on Friday for the first time in his career, allowing one run on five hits in 4 1/3 innings in the Tigers’ 10-4 victory.
In the teams’ meeting last weekend in Detroit, the Tigers took two of three games. The finale of that series was a thriller, as the Tigers rallied from three runs down in the eighth and two runs in the 10th to win 8-7 in 11 innings.
Detroit swept a two-game series from Milwaukee this week and has won five of its past six games. The Tigers limited the Brewers to one run on seven hits over the past two days.
“We’ve played a pretty good brand of baseball for a while,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said. “We’ll have a mishap here or there. I don’t really distinguish between opponents. … We obviously played pretty well this week and answered some challenges against a really good pitching staff, a couple of games where we had to scratch and claw to get our runs.”
Tampa Bay has lost five of its past seven games, including 6-3 to Toronto on Wednesday. Mike Zunino hit his 30th homer and Brett Phillips had a two-run blast for the Rays.
“Offensively, we couldn’t get anything going,” Cash said.
The magic number for the Rays (90-56) to clinch the American League East is nine.
–Field Level Media