When Matt Garza takes the hill against his former team Tuesday, he'll attempt to stifle a club that has won eight of nine games out of the break.
That is where Garza, who tossed the lone no-hitter in Rays' history, has his focus as he returns to Tropicana Field, which he called home from 2008 through 2010.
"I think the first time was [exciting] -- when I faced Minnesota the first time in 2008 [after being traded], but that's about it," Garza said of his excitement in facing a former team. "I just take every day the same. I go out there and do the best I can for my team and that's it."
Garza, who has a 3.87 ERA and is coming off an eight-inning outing where he surrendered one run, will be leading a Brewers squad that has continued its stronghold on the division into the second half. By first pitch Tuesday, the Brewers will have sat alone in first place for 116 days this season.
That is where the Rays are aiming for. After sitting as many as 18 games below .500 on June 10, the Rays have surged to within two games of the mark.
Attempting to continue to draw closer to that mark, Tampa Bay will hand the ball to Alex Cobb, who found his rhythm with seven scoreless frames against the Cardinals last time out in what the right-hander called one of his best starts.
"It felt like a prolonged period of time where I was searching for that comfort feeling on the mound, and it really felt like it clicked last game," Cobb said. "So it's just up to me to continue to feel that and repeat that delivery."
Garza has made just one start against his former team, allowing six runs in 4 1/3 innings with the Rangers last season. And while his excitement didn't show through Monday, his former manager knows his temperament well.
"He's a great personality," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I had a good visit with him prior to early batting practice. Hasn't changed a bit. I really do like the guy a lot. He is good. He's having a good year. Had one bad outing a couple outings ago, but for the most part it seems like he's nailed it down."
Brewers: Garza knows Trade Deadline well
Matt Garza has an eye on the opposing locker room this week, and specifically Rays left-hander David Price, whose name has widely been rumored as the non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches Thursday.
Garza is with the fifth team of his career this season and was part of a July trade last season when the Cubs sent him to the Rangers one week before the Deadline.
"It's a different way to look at it," Garza said of players in that position. "They're just giving me a shot to go to the postseason, that's about it. I think that's what every player looks at. No love-hate relationship. If you give me a shot to go win something, it's more of a compliment than anything."
Rays: Peralta back from disabled list, Bedard designated
The Rays designated left-hander Erik Bedard for assignment on Monday to make room for right-hander Joel Peralta to return from the disabled list.
Peralta went on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, retroactive to July 13, because of the Chikungunya virus. It was Peralta's first DL stint in a decade, when he was with Triple-A Salt Lake (Angels affiliate) in 2004.
Peralta, who became the franchise's career leader in appearances on July 4 (the record now stands at 270), is 2-3 with a 4.15 ERA in 43 games this season.
"It's great to have him back, he's so versatile, I'm telling you, man, a little bit of rest right now could really energize him for the season," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
• Second baseman Scooter Gennett returned to the lineup Monday after missing five starts with a strained right quadriceps. Gennett went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts in his return.
• Catcher Ryan Hanigan (left oblique strain) said he could start a rehab stint with Advanced Class A Charlotte on Wednesday, and Maddon said Hanigan could be ready to return from the disabled list for this weekend's series against the Angels.
Alex Halsted is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.