The Tampa Bay Rays are struggling in all areas of the game while sinking to the bottom of the American League and hope to start the recovery process when they host the rejuvenated Texas Rangers for the opener of their three-game series on Monday. The Rays have lost four straight, allowing 19 runs in the last two, and manager Kevin Cash told reporters after Sunday's 10-4 defeat against Philadelphia that "nothing is working."

To compound Tampa Bay's problems, former Gold Glove-winning center fielder Kevin Kiermaier is likely to miss some time with a right thumb injury he sustained Sunday after sliding head-first into second base. Kiermaier will undergo an MRI on Monday as teammate Blake Snell takes the mound in search of back-to-back wins as he opposes Martin Perez, who has yet to defeat the Rays in his career. The Rangers reside in last place in the AL West but come in off their first series victory of the season as they took the final two contests of a three-game set in Houston. Former Rays catcher Robinson Chirinos homered and delivered a two-run double in the 10th inning of Texas' 3-1 victory on Sunday.

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FS Southwest (Texas), FS Sun Plus (Tampa Bay)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers LH Martin Perez (1-1, 11.88 ERA) vs. Rays LH Blake Snell (1-1, 3.60)

Perez was pounded by the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, when he allowed eight runs on nine hits and four walks over three innings of an 11-1 setback. The 27-year-old Venezuelan, who posted a career-high 13 wins in 2017, won his season debut against Oakland on April 5 as he yielded three runs and 10 hits across 5 1/3 frames. C.J. Cron is 5-for-18 with a double, a triple and six RBIs against Perez, who is 0-2 with a 5.93 ERA in six career outings (five starts) versus Tampa Bay.

Snell was overpowering against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, striking out 10 while surrendering one run and one hit over six innings, but his pitch count ballooned to 114 with five walks. The 25-year-old native of Washington held Boston to three hits and two walks over 5 2/3 scoreless innings on March 30 in his only home start but settled for a no-decision. Snell, who will be facing Texas for the first time, has been markedly better at home (8-7, 3.05 ERA) than on the road (4-9, 4.65) in his career.


1. Texas claimed INF-OF Renato Nunez off waivers from Oakland on Sunday, and he is expected to join the team for the series opener.

2. Tampa Bay OF Mallex Smith has gone 11-for-24 with three RBIs over his last six games to raise his season average to a team-best .350.

3. The Rangers took four of the six meetings last season, including all three at Tampa Bay.

PREDICTION: Rays 4, Rangers 2  Bet Now

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