While the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays traded blows, it was the Rays who came out on top on Friday, as they defeated the Blue Jays, 10-6.
At 84-67 on the season, the Rays enter play Saturday 17 games above .500 and tied with the Blue Jays for the top American League Wildcard spot with 11 games left to play. The win also locked up the season series for Tampa Bay, which acts as the tie-breaker should both teams end the season with the same record.
Jeffrey Springs got the start Friday, although he exited after five innings of work after giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits. Staked to a three-run lead in the fifth, Springs — who previously held Toronto scoreless across two starts this season — gave up back-to-back doubles to Teoscar Hernandez and Raimel Tapia. After a fly-out, Springs walked Danny Jansen. After getting Goerge Springer to strikeout, the hurler served up three consecutive singles, all driving in a run to put the Jays up by a run, if but temporarily. On the season, Springs now maintains a 2.56 ERA and 3.35 FIP, with a 4.53 K/BB, and a 1.10 WHIP across 126.1 innings.
The Rays took the initial lead in the opening frame thanks, in part, the Randy Arozarena, who drove in a career six runs. After Blue Jays starter Mitch White walked Harold Ramírez with one out, Wander Franco followed with a double, putting a pair of runners in scoring position. While Arozarena grounded out to first, Ramírez was able to cross the plate to open the scoring. Manuel Margot followed with an RBI single, putting the Rays up by two.
They were able to extend the lead in the fourth inning on a two-out RBI double off the right-center wall by Christian Bethancourt, scoring Isaac Paredes who also doubled off the wall with one out. That spelled the end of White’s night. Toronto’s starter went just four innings, and allowed three runs off five hits, with two strikeouts and one walk.
As mentioned above, Toronto scored four runs off Springs in the top of the fifth, yet Tampa Bay, now down by a run, was able to retake the lead in the bottom of the frame thanks to, you guessed it, Arozarena.
The three-run uprising started against reliever Tim Mayza. Ramírez hit a one-out single ahead of Wander Franco, who reached on a walk.
Mayza exited in favor of Anthony Bass, who entered to face Arozarena. Big Randy hit a low liner which bounced off the top of the wall in right; the ball landed damn near close to the Dan Johnson seat for a three-run homer and a two-run lead. It was Arozarena’s 20th home run of the season, giving him a second consecutive 20/20 season.
But, Toronto answered against Colin Poche and Jason Adam in the sixth to tie the game. The left-hander promptly walked Teoscar Hernandez to lead off the frame, followed by a base hit to Raimel Tapia. With two on and none out, Poche got a strikeout, yet departed in favor of Adam. The right-hander gave up a single to Danny Jansen, scoring Hernandez before George Springer hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game at six apiece.
From there, though, Javy Guerra locked it down for Tampa Bay, throwing two scoreless innings, and allowing just a walk — setting up the Rays’ four-run eighth inning.
The pinch-hitting Ji-Man Choi was walked in the eighth by Yimi Garcia. Miles Mastrobuoni followed with a single, moving pinch-runner Taylor Walls — who was a late scratch due to groin tightness, mind you — up to third. That brought pinch hitter David Peralta to the plate. Peralta hit a fly ball to right-center, just deep enough for Walls to score the go-ahead run. After a strikeout and an intentional walk of Jonathan Aranda, Ramírez hit a routine grounder to Bo Bichette. Yet, the ball slid beneath Bichette’s glove for an error, allowing Mastrobuoni to score his first big-league run. The inning continued with a single off the bat of Franco. Arozarena capped the scoring with a two-run single to make it 10-6.
Finally, big Pete Fairbanks slammed the door shut on the Jays, working around a lead-off walk to strike out a pair and end the contest.
The New What Next
Drew Rasmussen (10-6, 2.92 ERA) will get the start Saturday, pitching opposite Alek Manoah (14-7, 2.40 ERA).
Drew Rasmussen allowed four runs on six hits and one walk while striking out three batters across six innings on Monday against Houston. Rasmussen served up a leadoff homer to Jose Altuve, but he limited Houston to that one run through five frames. However, they tagged him for three runs in the sixth inning, which was more than enough during a game in which the Rays were shut out. Rasmussen has given up eight earned runs in his last two starts, resulting in his first two-game losing streak of the Season. Overall, he’s pitched to a strong 2.92 ERA and a 3.25 FIP, with a 1.07 WHIP, and a 4.03 K/BB over 132.2 innings. In four contests against Toronto, Rasmussen has allowed eight runs (seven earned) on 20 hits and six walks.
Alek Manoah allowed a run on four hits and four walks while striking out five in six innings on Sunday against Baltimore. Manoah wasn’t at his best although he navigated trouble to keep Toronto in a position to win. Three consecutive hits in the fourth inning led to the lone run but he settled down after that and retired eight of the last nine batters he faced. He has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last six starts, compiling a 1.32 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and a 3.08 K/BB in 41 innings in that span. In two starts against the Rays this season, Manoah has given up five runs (three earned) on 10 hits (including two homers) and two walks. Key Matchups: Jonathan Aranda (1-3, HR, RBI), David Peralta (1-3)
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.
Rays 9/24/22 Starting Lineup
- Aranda 3B
- Franco SS
- Arozarena RF
- Peralta LF
- Margot DH
- Mastrobuoni 2B
- Mejía C
- Choi 1B
- Siri CF
— Tyler Glasnow is getting closer to returning even if only in a relief role.
Last night, Glasnow put up a 2.2 IP/0 H/1 BB/6K line on 46 pitches (26 strikes, 57% strike rate). The right-hander fell behind four of the last six hitters, yet he rallied to retire three of the four. Overall, his fastball sat in the 97-98 mph range across his four rehab outings in which he allowed just one run on one hit and four walks with 14 combined strikeouts across 14 frames. Next stop: the Tampa Bay Rays.