Rangers Road Trip Heads for Rematch With Rays

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - MARCH 31: Detailed view of the Opening Weekend sign behind home plate at Globe Life Field prior to a game between the Texas Rangers and the Chicago Cubs on March 31, 2024 in Arlington, Texas. | Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Texas Rangers are on the road for the first time this young season to face the Tampa Bay Rays, where last season’s World Series Championship run began.

Ryan Pepiot will start for Tampa Bay on Monday. He has never pitched against the Rangers before after being part of a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was called up mid-season by the Dodgers and performed well.

The Rangers will start Dane Dunning, who was named the Rangers Pitcher of the Year last season. Dunning pitched one game against the Rays, holding out for seven innings and giving up just two runs.

In the second game, the Rays will start Zach Eflin for the second time this season. Eflin struggled on Opening Day, giving up six runs in just five-and-a-half innings. The Rangers will roll out Andrew Heaney for his first start of the season.

The series finale will feature Nathan Eovaldi getting his second start for the Rangers. The Houston native recorded a 3.00 ERA on Opening Day, pitching six innings and six strikeouts. The Rays will start Aaron Civale, who debuted in Game 2 of Tampa Bay’s series against the Toronto Blue Jays. Civale pitched six innings and gave up one run as the Rays started the season with a victory.

The Rangers will be looking to bounce back from a crushing 9-5 loss on Saturday that concluded a three-game opening weekend series. The Rangers won the first two before dropping the finale. The Rays had a four-game series with Toronto and have not had a day off. The team split the series, going 2 for 2.

Texas’ pitching crew will look to shut down a Rays offense that exploded last season and is bringing back many featured hitters. The Rays also acquired Panamanian slugger Jose Caballero, who is entering the series on a four-game hitting streak. Caballero was acquired from the Seattle Mariners in the off-season.

Texas faced Tampa Bay six times in 2023 and got the upper hand, going 4-2. In the Wildcard round, the Rangers dominated the Rays to get the sweep and eliminate Tampa Bay from the postseason. The Rays are playing with passion this season after an opening weekend bench-clearing brawl and are likely looking to get vengeance against the Rangers after last year’s postseason.

Game 1 begins at 5:50 PM CT on Monday in Tampa Bay. Game 2 starts on Tuesday at 5:50 PM CT. Game 3 features an early 12:10 PM CT start time. The Rangers are currently in first in the AL West with a 2-1 record. The Rays sit in 3rd in the AL East at 2-2.

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