LBWMF: Rays fall in BS fashion, 6-4

The idiots at MLB TV thought this gesture meant that big Randy Arozarena was injured. (Photo Credit: Tampa Bay Rays)

In a game that lasted 13 innings and five hours and fourteen minutes, the comeback kids had a short-lived lead, an epic game-tying eighth, and a game-changing ruling. You’d think with all that the Rays would’ve walked away with a galvanizing win in Boston. Although that wasn’t to be, as Tampa Bay fell to Boston in the bottom of the 13th inning, 6-4. The Rays now trail the best-of-five series two games to one.

The Rays took an early lead in the first inning against former Ray Nathan Eovaldi. Wander Franco singled to right-center with one out — his fifth hit in his first 10 postseason at-bats — before Austin Meadows lashed a two-run home run to right, his first of the ALDS.

Yet, Eovaldi got his first six outs via the strikeout and didn’t surrender another hit until Joey Wendle doubled to left with one out in the fifth. Brandon Lowe, currently mired in an 0-for-14 postseason stretch, lined to center, and Franco grounded to first, ending the threat.

Boston’s right-hander ultimately went five innings, while the Rays went quiet until the eighth inning.

Meanwhile, Boston rallied against Drew Rasmussen, who had allowed just four runs in five regular-season appearances against the Red Sox. Today, however, he lasted just two frames and didn’t get an out in the third inning. Kyle Schwarber homered to left-center to start the home half of the first, cutting the Rays lead in half.

After facing the minimum in the second inning, thanks to a double-play ball, the right-hander allowed three consecutive hits to open the third and was removed with the game tied at two after Kiké Hernández’s collected his second hit of the day.

Josh Fleming — who ended the season with an 0-2 record, and a 7.36 ERA but a 2.90 FIP and a .308 BABIP across his last 3.2 innings of work — entered the contest. The southpaw attempted to keep the bad luck dragons at bay, but alas it was not to be; Rafael Devers hit a ground ball through the middle for a run-scoring hit and Boston’s first lead of the game. Even so, Fleming and Andrew Kittredge limited the damage in the inning and kept Boston off the board until the fifth.

Pete Fairbanks was next on the bump, and the right-hander surrendered a leadoff homer to Hernández to open the fifth, putting Boston up by a pair. It was also the seventh straight plate appearance with a hit for Boston’s centerfielder and the fifth consecutive inning where the leadoff batter reached for Boston.

The Red Sox put the leadoff man on hits in the first six frames and now has 14 in 28 innings in this series. However, four combined scoreless frames by JP Feyereisen, Matt Wisler, and JT Chargois kept the Rays in the game.

Down by a pair and limited to four scattered hits over the first seven innings, Tampa Bay rallied in the eighth against Hansel Robles. Franco led off the inning with a blast over the Green Monster — his first of the postseason. Meadows followed with a double to center, then moved to third on a dribbler in front of the plate by Nelson Cruz. Yandy Díaz struck out after nearly hitting a go-ahead homer, pulling it foul. However, big Randy Arozarena doubled to left-center, tying the ball game. The play was relatively contentious, as Kyle Schwarber stood in Arozarena’s way as he rounded first en route to second, and the Rays could have called for a review of the play due to interference. Kevin Cash, however, opted not to.

The Rays also had a chance to plate the go-ahead run in the tenth inning when Manuel Margot singled off Nick Pivetta to start the frame. After a pair of fly-ball outs, Margot appeared to swipe second, but his foot came off the bag as he over slid it to end the half.

Boston had a chance in the home half of the tenth against David Robertson, the eighth pitcher for the Rays. Alex Verdugo — who is objectively the ugliest player in baseball — singled to left with one out. JD Martinez worked a 10-pitch at-bat, yet he ultimately flew out to the centerfield warning track before Hunter Renfroe popped out to end the frame.

In the 10th inning, Garrett Whitlock entered and walked Kevin Kiermaier intentionally before striking out Mike Zunino to keep the game even.

In the bottom of the frame, Robertson allowed a one-out double to left to Christian Arroyo. But, Bobby Dalbec — who pinch-ran for Schwarber in the ninth — struck out on three pitches for the third out of the inning.

Nick Pivetta, who was expected to start Monday’s contest, pitched the final four innings, allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out seven. Still, the Rays had a chance against him in the 11th. Arozarena walked to start the inning then swiped second as Kiermaier struck out end an 11-pitch at-bat. Pivetta rebounded to strike out Zunino and Jordan Luplow to end the threat and finish his second scoreless inning.

Pivetta’s outing was not without controversy, though.

In the top of the 13th, Díaz singled to right with one out, then with two outs, Kiermaier hit a ball over the head of Renfroe in right. The ball bounced off the wall, then deflected off Renfroe and over the wall for a ground-rule double. Díaz, who would have scored, was held at third — he could only score if umpires ruled that the outfielder intentionally hit the ball over the wall. Zunino then struck out to end the threat and keep the game tied.

By rule, it’s just a ground-rule double. The umpires met and got together, and said, you’re more than welcome to challenge it. I saw the replay. Obviously, there was nothing intentional by it. That’s just the rule. That’s the way it goes. It was very unfortunate for us. I think it was fairly obvious that KK or Yandy was going to come around to score, but it didn’t go our way.

— Kevin Cash

Sadly, Boston won the game in the 13th against Luis Patiño, who entered the game in the 12th and threw a scoreless six-pitch frame. Renfroe walked with one out before Christian Vazquez homered on the next pitch, ending the marathon contest.

That spoiled fantastic work by the bullpen, which threw 10 innings prior to the 13th, allowing just a run.

Five hours and fourteen minutes later, the comeback kids ended the day on the brink of elimination.

We’ve got to win tomorrow. We don’t really have many choices. Today was a really big win for them and a really tough loss for us.

We put ourselves in a little bit of a bind. We did a great job of having some big at-bats for a little bit there to get back in it. Look, we had opportunities. We just didn’t capitalize. Their pitching was tough but just a lot of swing and miss. When you’re swinging and missing, there’s not much you can do.

— Kevin Cash

THE NEW WHAT NEXT

Neither manager has listed a starter for game four of the ALDS, which is expected to be a bullpen day for both clubs.

Collin McHugh (6-1, 1.55 ERA), who did not pitch Sunday, is expected to open for Tampa Bay. McHugh was charged with three runs in 1.2 innings in game two, including a pair of homers. This, after allowing just three homers all season.

After McHugh, it’s all hands on deck for the Rays with Shane McClanahan and Shane Baz available, as well as Luis Patiño along with the other bullpen arms.

Eduardo Rodriguez (13-8, 4.74) is expected to start for Boston. Rodriguez allowed two runs in 1.2 innings before being lifted in game one after just 41 pitches. Rodriguez had a 5.95 ERA at home during the regular season (3.95 on the road). Expect him to be on a short leash once again. Key Matchups: Randy Arozarena (4-11, 2B), Yandy Díaz (7-17, 2B, 2 BB), Brandon Lowe (4-13, 3 HR, 4 RBI), Manuel Margot (4-12, 2B, RBI), Francisco Mejía (2-5, RBI, BB), Joey Wendle (1-2), Mike Zunino (4-11, 2B, 3B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB)

You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup is below.

RAYS 10/11/21 STARTING LINEUP

  1. Arozarena RF
  2. Franco SS
  3. Lowe 2B
  4. Cruz DH
  5. Luplow 1B
  6. Díaz 3B
  7. Meadows LF
  8. Zunino C
  9. Kiermaier CF
  10. McHugh RHP

Rays 10/10/21 pregame notes; Wisler and Lowe

No October skies for the next few days while the Rays are in Boston. (Photo Credit: X-Rays Spex)

After an ugly 14-6 loss on Friday, the Tampa Bay Rays will look to get back on the winning side of the ledger in game three of the American League Division Series this afternoon, in Boston. The Rays and Red Sox enter play even at a game apiece after Boston hit five homers and scored 12 of the next 13 runs after Tampa Bay took a three-run, first-inning lead.

Brandon Lowe enters Boston mired in an 0-for-8 stretch to start in the ALDS, which has created a hole in the Rays lineup. However, in 16 career games at Fenway, Lowe is 24-for-54 with six home runs, five doubles, 16 RBI, and 11 walks. He’s struck out just 16 times in 69 plate appearances. That’s good for a .444 BA/.551 OBP/.870 SLG/1.421 OPS slash line. If ever there was ever a perfect place to break things open, it’s Fenway.

Every time we go there, I don’t know whether it’s the fans that they have that it makes such a good atmosphere or what it is, but I feel comfortable at the plate. There’s a good box there. There’s a good batter’s eye. I see the ball well, and when there’s a wall [the Green Monster] 300 feet away, it makes it a little bit easier on a lefty. I can get jammed or I can get beat and still kind of filet one the other way and hopefully, it bangs off that wall.

— Brandon Lowe

The Rays could make a roster move prior to Sunday’s contest depending upon how Matt Wisler feels.

Wisler surrendered a single and a three-run homer in the fifth inning on Friday, and Rays manager Kevin Cash confirmed that he (Wisler), again, felt the right middle finger inflammation that sidelined him for a month across two Injured List stints.

The right-hander threw off the mound Saturday during the Rays’ light, optional workout in Boston. Cash said Wisler will be reevaluated prior to game time. With a bullpen game looming in the fourth game of the series Monday, the Rays will likely have to make a decision on whether Wisler will be placed on the IL for the third time season.

It’s just an issue that he’s going to have. He’s been managing. We’re going to sit and talk to him and see how he can manage it. I think it’s good that he’s coming today (to) play catch, and then we’ll go from there. We’ll probably sit down and see where we’re at.

— Kevin Cash, on Saturday

If Tampa Bay removes Wisler from the ALDS roster due to injury, they could replace him with another player — possibly right-hander Nick Anderson or Louis Head — for the rest of this series. Should they advance pst Boston, they would not be able to put Wisler on the Championship Series roster. He, however, could return for the World Series if the Rays advanced to that point.

THE NEW WHAT NEXT

As expected, Drew Rasmussen (4-0, 2.44 ERA) will get the start for Tampa Bay, pitching opposite of Nathan Eovaldi (11-9, 3.75 ERA).

Drew Rasmussen hurled five scoreless frames during which he allowed one hit and no walks while striking out two Astros. Rasmussen held Houston without a baserunner for 4.1 frames before Yuli Gurriel broke through with a single. Rasmussen completed the inning without surrendering any damage on the scoreboard. He threw only 54 pitches (42 strikes, 78% strike rate, 17% StStr%) despite his dominance. Rasmussen finished his 2021 campaign with a 2.84 ERA and a 2.86 FIP, with a 1.08 WHIP, and a 2.92 K/BB across 76 innings. The right-hander has faced Boston five times this season as a starter or a reliever and has allowed just four runs across 15.2 innings (2.30 ERA). Overall, Red Sox hitters are 13-for-58 (.224) without a homer against Rasmussen.

Nathan Eovaldi allowed one run on four hits and no walks while striking out eight across 5.1 innings against the Yankees on Tuesday. Eovaldi tossed six scoreless frames in his final regular-season tuneup, and he maintained his success in his first postseason outing of the season. The right-hander exited the contest after he gave up a solo home run to Anthony Rizzo with one out in the sixth inning. Eovaldi finished his 2021 campaign with a 3.75 ERA and a 2.89 ERA, with a 1.19 WHIP, and a 5.57 K/BB across 182.1 innings. Key Matchups: Ji-Man Choi (5-19, 2B, HR, 3 RBI), Brandon Lowe (5-19, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB), Manuel Margot (2-7), Austin Meadows (7-21, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 3 RBI, BB), Francisco Mejía (2-7, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, BB), Joey Wendle (6-17, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI, 2 BB)

You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup is below.

RAYS 10/10/21

  1. Lowe 2B
  2. Franco SS
  3. Meadows LF
  4. Cruz DH
  5. Choi 1B
  6. Arozarena RF
  7. Kiermaier CF
  8. Zunino C
  9. Wendle 3B
  10. Rasmussen RHP

LBWMF: Rays blank Sox in game one of the ALDS, 5-0

More than 27,000 fans watched big Randy the Rays take down the Red Sox on Thursday. (Photo Credit: Tampa Bay Rays)

Shane McClanahan posted five scoreless innings, while playoff Randy Arozarena arrived in spades on Thursday, as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Boston Red Sox in the first game of the 2021 ALDS, 5-0.

Shane McClanahan got the start and allowed runners in four of the five innings in which he worked, yet the left-hander held the Red Sox to 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and 1-for-10 with runners on base. McClanahan recorded three strikeouts, all in the first inning, as he worked around a Kyle Schwarber infield hit and a stolen base. His biggest jam came in the second inning after former Ray, Hunter Renfroe, lined a Stantonian single off the left-field wall. Brandon Lowe also misplayed Alex Verdugo’s potential double-play ball to put two on with none out. Even so, Bobby Dalbec grounded into a 4-6-3 double play before Christian Vazquez flew out to shallow center to end the threat. All told, McClanahan scattered five hits and did not issue a walk on 82 pitches (55 strikes, 67% strike rate).

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay — or as FS1 calls them, Tamba Bay — took the lead two batters into the contest against left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez. Randy Arozarena walked then scored all the way from first on Wander Franco’s line-drive double to center which Kiké Hernández bobbled. After Nelson Cruz flew out to deep left-center, allowing Franco to move into third, Yandy Díaz beat out a two-out infield hit to third for a lead they’d never relinquish.

After one trip through the order, 41 pitches, and just 1.2 innings of work, Rodriguez was lifted in favor of Garrett Richards, who finished the second inning.

Enter Nick Pivetta, who went the next 4.2 frames.

In the third inning, Nelson Cruz blasted a 406-foot homer off the C-ring in left-center — the 18th postseason homer of his career.

Then in the fifth inning, Arozarena blasted a no-doubter to left for a four-run advantage. It was his 11 postseason homer in 21 postseason games (extending back to 2020).

Pivetta was chased in the seventh inning after he allowed a two-out walk to Arozarena and a double to left to Franco putting runners in scoring position. Enter Josh Taylor, who took the mound to face Brandon Lowe. The Rays’ second baseman fell behind 1-2 when Arozarena took a big lead off third and broke for home as Taylor came set. The left-hander stepped off and fired home, but it wasn’t even close. By the time Christian Vázquez caught the ball, big RAAAAAAAANDY had already slid in safely for the first successful steal of home in the playoffs since Javier Báez did so in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS. Arozarena has become the first player in postseason history to hit a homer and steal home in the same game.

J.T. Chargois worked around hit by coaxing a double-play ball — facing the minimum in the sixth inning.

David Robertson put together a perfect seventh inning in what could have been his best outing as a Ray.

Right-hander J.P. Feyereisen came on for the eighth inning as Boston rallied. Christian Arroyo and Kyle Schwarber hit back-to-back singles to right before Xander Bogaerts lifted a fly ball into shallow center that both Franco and Kevin Kiermaier lost in the dome. It fell in for a bloop single, loading the bases. Yet, Rafael Devers struck out, and Renfroe popped out to end the threat. Feyereisen then worked a perfect ninth to lock down Tampa Bay’s first postseason win of the season.

THE NEW WHAT NEXT

Shane Baz (2-0, 2.03 ERA) will get the start in the second game of the ALDS, pitching opposite of Chris Sale (5-1, 3.16 ERA).

Shane Baz gave up one run on a hit and two walks across 2.2 innings. He struck out four. With Tampa Bay already having the best record in the American League locked up, Kevin Cash elected to give Baz some extra rest ahead of the playoffs — a sign that right-hander will play a big part in Tampa Bay’s postseason pitching plans. Baz threw 51 pitches (28 strikes, 55% strike rate) before exiting, and he wrapped up the regular season with a 2.03 ERA and a 4.06 FIP, with a 6.00 K/BB through 13.1 frames.

Chris Sale surrendered two runs on four hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in 2.1 innings against the Nationals on Sunday. Alex Cora was quick to give Sale the quick hook, for the second consecutive start, once he pitched into a jam in the third inning. The southpaw ended the regular season with a 3.16 ERA and a 3.69 FIP, with a 1.34 WHIP, and 4.33 K/BB in 42.2 innings across nine starts. Sale is 0-0 with a 2.79 ERA in two starts against Rays this season, however, all that glitters is not gold — in his second turn against Tampa Bay, he gave up five runs (one earned) on 10 hits in 3.2 innings of work. In that outing, the Rays tagged the left-hander for four fourth-inning runs which later were deemed unearned. Key Matchups: Nelson Cruz (12-35, 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB), Yandy Díaz (6-12, 2 2B, 3B, 3 RBI, BB), Wander Franco (4-6, 3B, HR, 2 RBI), Kevin Kiermaier (6-20, HR, 3 RBI, BB), Manuel Margot (3-5)

You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.

RAYS 10/8/21 STARTING LINEUP

  1. Arozarena LF
  2. Franco SS
  3. Lowe 2B
  4. Cruz DH
  5. Díaz 3B
  6. Luplow 1B
  7. Margot RF
  8. Zunino C
  9. Kiermaier CF
  10. Baz RHP

NOTEWORTHINESS

— On the night, Rays’ pitchers did not walk a batter or allow an extra-base hit.

— As per Stats LLC, Wander Franco became the first player in major league history to have multiple extra-base hits in both his regular-season debut (2B and HR on June 22 vs. BOS) and his postseason debut.

TNWN: Rays vs Red Sox — an ALDS series preview

Big RAAAAAAAANDY is ready for the ALDS. (Photo Credit: Tampa Bay Rays)

After a four-day respite following a regular-season capping series win against the Yankees, the Tampa Bay Rays are set to start the best of five American League Division Series against the Red Sox on Thursday, at the Trop. Meanwhile, after dropping two consecutive series to the Yankees and Orioles, the Red Sox swept the Nationals in their final series of the season, then defeated the Yankees in the AL Wildcard game.

At 100-62 on the season, the Rays enter play as the top team in the American League, while the Red Sox ended the season 92-70 and tied with the Yankees for second in the division.

Despite many injuries that would normally sink a team’s chances — just ask the Padres — Tampa Bay returned to the postseason for the third consecutive season. They won the division for a second consecutive season and clinched home-field advantage through the American League playoffs. When all was said and done, the Rays put together their most successful regular-season team in Tampa Bay history.

The Rays have shown they can win games in a variety of ways, regardless of the opponent. That versatility will serve them well in the postseason.

They have plenty of power; Brandon Lowe, Mike Zunino, Austin Meadows, Nelson Cruz, and Randy Arozarena all hit at least 20 home runs, while six others hit at least 10. They also boast a roster that works tough at-bats and gets on base. Yandy Díaz, Ji-Man Choi, and Wander Franco exemplify that. To that end, the resilient roster has shown the remarkable ability to score late in games; consider that they have scored 117 late runs — 14% of their total output. To that end, the Rays have come from behind to win more games than any team in the league. Yet, the Red Sox run a very close second in that category.

Expect Cruz and Franco to loom large the next few days. Boomstick drove in 36 runs in 55 games with the Rays and boasts a career 1.019 OPS in 46 career postseason games with 17 home runs. As for Wander, the rookie sensation has reached base in 46 of his last 47 regular-season games, and he drove in 16 runs, hit three homers, had more walks than strikeouts (9:7), and hit to a 1.007 OPS in 16 games versus Boston.

Tampa Bay should benefit from having a home-field advantage. Tropicana Field can get deafening and rowdy as evidenced by their home games against Houston in the 2019 ALDS.

For us to have the first two games at home is going to be huge for us. This place was electric back in 2019. I think it’s going to be just that and then some tomorrow and we’re all going to be very excited about it.

— Kevin Kiermaier

There’s another benefit to the Trop though: the mound. The Rays posted a 2.93 ERA at home this season — about a run and a half better than their road ERA. That will only help Tampa Bay’s pitching staff, which has performed to a combined 3.67 ERA and 3.79 FIP, with a 1.17 WHIP and a 24.6 K%. That breaks down to a 4.08 ERA and a 3.98 FIP for the starting rotation on the season (4.53 ERA and a 4.13 FIP in the second half), and a 3.24 ERA and a 3.59 FIP for the relief corps (3.21 ERA and a 3.64 FIP in the second half). Compare that to Boston, whose pitching staff maintains a combined 4.26 ERA and a 3.95 FIP, with a 1.38 WHIP.

Tampa Bay won the season series against Boston, 11-8, and are the favorites in the series. Yet, while the Rays are in the top two in overall runs scored, they outscored the Red Sox by just two runs. Six of those games were decided by just one run. Even so, Tampa Bay won 11 of the last 15 against Boston after starting the season 0-4.

PITCHING PROBABLES

In the first three games of the series, Kevin Cash will turn to Shane McClanahan (10-6, 3.43 ERA), Shane Baz (2-0, 2.03 ERA), and Drew Rasmussen (4-0, 2.44 ERA). Alex Cora will counter with Eduardo Rodriguez (13-8, 4.74 ERA), Chris Sale (5-1, 3.16 ERA), and likely Nathan Eovaldi (11-9, 3.75 ERA).

Shane McClanahan allowed a run on three hits and struck out three in three innings against the Yankees on Friday. McClanahan only threw 43 pitches (28 strikes, 65% strike rate) in the contest, yet that was due to workload management for the 24-year-old, who was getting one last tuneup before the playoffs. He finished the regular season with a 3.43 ERA and a 3.31 FIP, with a 1.27 WHIP and 3.81 K/BB across 123.1 innings. He made three starts against Boston this season, finishing 1-1 with a stellar 2.81 ERA. The Red Sox are batting .245 in 53 plate appearances off McClanahan over that stretch.

Eduardo Rodriguez pitched a perfect inning on Sunday against Washington. With a playoff spot on the line, manager Alex Cora took no chances, turning to the hurler late after he threw five shutout innings Friday. The 28-year-old ended the regular season with a 4.74 ERA and a 3.32 FIP, with a 1.39 WHIP, and 3.94 K/BB across 157.2 innings. After the All-Star Break, Rodriguez posted a 3.76 ERA in 67 innings across 14 starts. The southpaw has given up two earned runs or fewer in each of his last five appearances although he has completed six innings or more just once in that span. In four starts against the Rays this season, Rodriguez is 1-1 with a 4.71 ERA. He owns a career 2-4 record, and a lifetime-5.21 ERA in 13 starts versus Tampa Bay, including a 4.26 ERA in seven career starts at Tropicana Field. Key Matchups: Randy Arozarena (4-11, 2B), Yandy Díaz (7-17, 2B, 2 BB), Brandon Lowe (4-13, 3 HR, 4 RBI), Manuel Margot (4-12, 2B, RBI), Francisco Mejía (2-5, RBI, BB), Joey Wendle (1-2), Mike Zunino (4-11, 2B, 3B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB)

Shane Baz gave up one run on a hit and two walks across 2.2 innings. He struck out four. With Tampa Bay already having the best record in the American League locked up, Kevin Cash elected to give Baz some extra rest ahead of the playoffs — a sign that right-hander will play a big part in Tampa Bay’s postseason pitching plans. Baz threw 51 pitches (28 strikes, 55% strike rate) before exiting, and he wrapped up the regular season with a 2.03 ERA and a 4.06 FIP, with a 6.00 K/BB through 13.1 frames.

Chris Sale surrendered two runs on four hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in 2.1 innings against the Nationals on Sunday. Alex Cora was quick to give Sale the quick hook, for the second consecutive start, once he pitched into a jam in the third inning. The southpaw ended the regular season with a 3.16 ERA and a 3.69 FIP, with a 1.34 WHIP, and 4.33 K/BB in 42.2 innings across nine starts. Sale is 0-0 with a 2.79 ERA in two starts against Rays this season, however, all that glitters is not gold — in his second turn against Tampa Bay, he gave up five runs (one earned) on 10 hits in 3.2 innings of work. In that outing, the Rays tagged the left-hander for four fourth-inning runs which later were deemed unearned. Key Matchups: Nelson Cruz (12-35, 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB), Yandy Díaz (6-12, 2 2B, 3B, 3 RBI, BB), Wander Franco (4-6, 3B, HR, 2 RBI), Kevin Kiermaier (6-20, HR, 3 RBI, BB), Manuel Margot (3-5)

Drew Rasmussen hurled five scoreless frames during which he allowed one hit and no walks while striking out two Astros. Rasmussen held Houston without a baserunner for 4.1 frames before Yuli Gurriel broke through with a single. Rasmussen completed the inning without surrendering any damage on the scoreboard. He threw only 54 pitches (42 strikes, 78% strike rate, 17% StStr%) despite his dominance. Rasmussen finished his 2021 campaign with a 2.84 ERA and a 2.86 FIP, with a 1.08 WHIP, and a 2.92 K/BB across 76 innings.

Nathan Eovaldi allowed one run on four hits and no walks while striking out eight across 5.1 innings against the Yankees on Tuesday. Eovaldi tossed six scoreless frames in his final regular-season tuneup, and he maintained his success in his first postseason outing of the season. The right-hander exited the contest after he gave up a solo home run to Anthony Rizzo with one out in the sixth inning. Eovaldi finished his 2021 campaign with a 3.75 ERA and a 2.89 ERA, with a 1.19 WHIP, and a 5.57 K/BB across 182.1 innings. Key Matchups: Ji-Man Choi (5-19, 2B, HR, 3 RBI), Brandon Lowe (5-19, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB), Manuel Margot (2-7), Austin Meadows (7-21, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 3 RBI, BB), Francisco Mejía (2-7, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, BB), Joey Wendle (6-17, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI, 2 BB)

NOTEWORTHINESS

— Rays manager Kevin Cash set the ALDS roster Thursday morning, opting to include 13 pitchers and 13 position players for the opening round. The roster includes RHP Matt Wisler, LHP Josh Fleming, and OF/1B Jordan Luplow. Surprising to many, OF Brett Phillips and LHP Ryan Yarbrough were not included on the roster.

Yarbrough had been very effective over the last two weeks of the season, maintaining a 1-1 record with a 2.53 ERA and 3.64 FIP, to go along with a 0.66 WHIP, and a 7.00 K/BB across 10.2 frames. He, however, has not fared well against Boston. Be that as it may, Fleming had performed to an 0-2 record, and a 7.36 ERA and 2.90 FIP across his last 3.2 innings of work, with a 1.36 WHIP, and a 2.00 K/BB. Given his sub-three FIP, and a .308 BABIP, there is likely some bad luck at play with the left-handed hurler.

Cash likely opted to go with Luplow over Phillips since he has more defensive flexibility, and has slashed .308 BA/.357 OBP/.590 SLG/.947 OPS over the month of September, with four runs, seven RBI, and a 162 wRC+.

You can see the ALDS roster in its entirety below.

Rays yard sign distribution, watch parties, and Division Series schedule

A “Rays Up” lawn sign is seen in a random front yard on the west side of St. Petersburg. I’d like to thank my dog for not freaking out as I snapped the shot during our walk.

Thanks to the popularity of the Tampa Bay Rays “Rays Up” signs that were initially made available at this past weekend’s drive-through yard sales, the team has made them available at nine different distribution sites spread throughout the area.

The distribution sites follow:

KAHWA COFFEE

204 2nd Avenue S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

3928 Henderson Blvd
Tampa, FL 33629

KANE’S FURNITURE

4501 34th Street N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33714

6222 N. Dale Mabry Hwy
Tampa, FL 33614

ST. PETE STORE & VISITORS CENTER

100 2nd Avenue N., Suite 150
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

TIJUANA FLATS

2117 66th Street N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33710

11007 Causeway Blvd
Brandon, FL 33511

UNLOCK TAMPA BAY VISITORS CENTER

201 N. Franklin Street #102
Tampa, FL 33602

YBOR CITY VISITOR INFORMATION CENTER

1600 E. 8th Avenue, Suite B104
Tampa, FL 33605

ALDS WATCH PARTIES

The Rays also announced American League Division Series watch parties in St. Petersburg and Tampa. Games and prizes will be available, and you will get the opportunity to cheer on your Rays alongside your fan family!

ALDS GAMES 3 AND 4 WATCH PARTIES

Sunday, October 10, 4:07 PM

St. Pete Pier – 800 2nd Ave SE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Tampa Theatre – 711 N Franklin Street, Tampa, FL 33602

Monday, October 11 (if necessary), TBD time based on broadcast schedule

St. Pete Pier – 800 2nd Ave SE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Tampa Theatre – 711 N Franklin Street, Tampa, FL 33602

DIVISION SERIES BROADCAST SCHEDULES

Finally, the broadcast schedule for the MLB Postseason games through Sunday was announced today by Major League Baseball. You can see the schedule above.