June 9, 2023 1:49 am

ST. PETERSBURG — The final time the Rays saw the Dodgers, Los Angeles was celebrating its victory in the 2020 Globe Series in Arlington, Texas, the neutral web page amid extreme pandemic restrictions.

Friday, they will meet once again, with the Rays in possession of the finest record (37-15) in the American League and the Dodgers the second-finest (31-20, percentage points behind Atlanta) in the National League. It will be L.A.’s very first go to to Tropicana Field considering the fact that 2019 and just its fifth all round.

How large a deal it is depends on whom you ask.

To Rays infielder Taylor Walls, it is absolutely nothing unique.

“I do not know, they’re just one more group, I guess,” he mentioned. “I honestly forgot we played them (this weekend) till you just pointed out it. We just show up just about every day, appear at the job at hand, appear at the scouting report and attempt to place with each other a program to be productive that day. And that is fairly substantially it.

“We do not seriously place as well substantially believed into specifically who we’re playing or the hype about it or what the possibilities may well be in the future.”

Rays manager Kevin Money requires the ball from beginning pitcher Blake Snell (four) in the sixth inning of Game six of the 2020 Globe Series against the Dodgers.

[ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

To outfielder Randy Arozarena, who had a breakout overall performance in the course of the 2020 postseason, it is a reminder of a missed chance.

“I had a fairly excellent Series,” he mentioned by means of group interpreter Manny Navarro, “but I wanted the Globe Series ring. I wanted to win it.”

Plus, Arozarena pointed out, “it’s a really distinct group.”

“2020 was 2020 and it is in the previous, but this is year 2023,” he mentioned. “We’re attempting to get to the playoffs and we believe we can do it, and (want to) play a excellent series against them.”

To Rays manager Kevin Money — regardless of the six-game loss and scrutiny of his selection to take out starter Blake Snell in Game six — it is a possibility to appear back and smile at the highlights, like the wild Game four win sparked by Brett Phillips.

“Great memories,” Money mentioned. “A lot of enjoyable. Certainly, we came up brief, but seriously appreciated that, hunting back how exceptional that 2020 postseason was, acquiring to the Globe Series. Proud of that, to be a aspect of that group. And I’m confident it will be talked about more than this weekend with (the Dodgers) coming in.”

Rays relief pitcher Calvin Faucher (58) pitches in the top rated of the eighth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays Thursday at Tropicana Field.

[ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

The Rays continued their bullpen shuffle, recalling Calvin Faucher from Triple-A and activating left-hander Jake Diekman from the paternity list.

To make space, reliever Ben Heller and infielder Vidal Brujan, who had been named up Wednesday, had been optioned back to Durham.

Faucher produced the opening-day roster but was sent down April 30 (immediately after compiling a six.43 ERA in eight games, enabling 16 hits and six walks in 14 innings) to get perform in bullpen sessions refining what Money named “stupid good” stuff. Faucher pitched in only 3 games for the Bulls, enabling 3 hits and 3 walks more than four-two/three innings. Thursday, he worked a a single-stroll eighth.

“It’s nevertheless a perform in progress,” Money mentioned prior to the game. “He can seriously assistance us. We’ve just got to uncover a way to get him in the zone a small bit much more regularly. But his stuff fits seriously properly with the back finish of our bullpen …. his two breaking balls that he throws, and the fastball.”

Brujan was brought up as a hedge offered uncertainty more than the availability of corner infielder Yandy Diaz due to a household matter. Diaz was back with the group Thursday and “totally available” if required, Money mentioned.

Diekman returned immediately after going house to Nebraska for the birth of a daughter on Monday. He had a rough outing Thursday, coming in for the ninth with a six-1 lead and enabling two a single-out singles and a stroll to generate a save circumstance that Colin Poche, immediately after a bases-loaded stroll and a sacrifice fly, converted.

Rays beginning pitcher Zach Eflin pitches in the very first inning Thursday at Tropicana Field.

[ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Lefty Jalen Beeks will be the opener Friday, with proper-hander Cooper Criswell anticipated to perform bulk innings. … The Rays are the very first group with two seven-steal games in the similar season considering the fact that the 1995 Astros. … As the Rays attempt to increase and stabilize their bullpen, they’ve benefited from 4 seven-inning begins (two each and every by Shane McClanahan and Zach Eflin) more than their final seven games. … Eflin is six- with a two.19 ERA in six begins at the Trop. … Attendance was ten,736 Thursday, for a 4-game total of 40,198.

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