David Peralta collected his 1,000th hit last night. (Photo Credit: Tampa Bay Rays)

After dropping the middle game of the three-game set against the Astros, the Tampa Bay Rays look to bounce back in the getaway game this afternoon.

At 86-72 on the season, the Rays enter play 14 games above .500, and three games back of the Blue Jays for the top AL Wildcard spot with four games left to play.

Shane McClanahan got the start Saturday and allowed two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out two over five innings. McClanahan bounced back from a rough outing last Sunday versus Toronto, but the Rays’ offense didn’t muster enough run support — or any whatsoever, if we are being honest. The ace exited the game after 67 pitches (45 strikes, 67% strike rate), presumably to give him a bit of rest with the Rays’ playoff spot confirmed Friday. The southpaw finished the regular season with a 2.54 ERA and a 3.01 FIP (2.60 xFIP), a 0.93 WHIP, and a 5.11 K/BB across 166.1 innings through 28 starts. He’s lined up to start Game 1 of the AL Wildcard round against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.

Meanwhile, in the top of the sixth inning, outfielder David Peralta drove a pitch through the middle of the infield, allowing him to tally his 1,000th career hit — one of just four hits by the Rays on the night.

Tampa Bay did rally in the ninth off closer Ryan Pressly after Randy Arozarena and Wander Franco both drew one-out walks. After a strikeout, Yandy Díaz singled home Arozarena to make it a 2-1 contest. Yet, Harold Ramírez flew out to right to end the ball game.

The New What Next

Corey Kluber (10-9, 4.36 ERA) will get the start in the series finale, pitching opposite professional baby rocker Luis Garcia (14-8, 3.81 ERA).

Corey Kluber got the start Tuesday in Cleveland and allowed three runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out five across four innings. All three runs against Kluber came with two outs when José Ramírez tripled in a run in the third inning and Steven Kwan hit a two-run single in the fourth. Kluber needed 91 pitches to get through the four frames and was removed rather than face the heart of Cleveland’s lineup a third time. It’s been feast or famine for the right-hander in September as he’s tossed seven innings while allowing one run or fewer on two occasions and given up 13 runs in 10.1 innings in his other three outings combined. All told, the BABIP bad-luck king (Kluber maintains a .316 BABIP on the season, 15 points higher than his career number) owns a 4.36 ERA but a 3.54 FIP, with a 6.75 K/BB, and a 1.21 WHIP across 159.0 frames. Kluber surrendered one run on six scattered hits and a walk across seven innings in his previous start against the Astros. While he was incredibly efficient, he only struck out two.

Luis Garcia allowed one run on four hits and no walks over six innings against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday. He struck out six. Garcia cruised to victory, as the only damage on the night came via a Geraldo Perdomo solo homer in the third inning. The effort was Garcia’s third quality start and second start without allowing a walk over 11 outings since the All-Star Break. He has a 3.81 ERA and a 4.00 FIP (3.84 xFIP) through 151.1 innings this season — just four innings shy of the innings mark he recorded in 2021. The baby rocker held the Rays scoreless across five innings in his previous start against Tampa Bay, surrendering just two hits while walking four. Key Matchups: Ji-Man Choi (1-2, HR, 3 RBI, BB), Wander Franco (2-6, 2B), Francisco Mejia (1-2, RBI), David Peralta (1-4, 2B), Harold Ramírez (2-4, 2B,)

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

Rays 10/2/22 Starting Lineup

  1. Margot CF
  2. Arozarena RF
  3. Peralta LF
  4. Ramírez DH
  5. Choi 1B
  6. Bethancourt C
  7. Paredes 3B
  8. Mastrobuoni 2B
  9. Walls SS