Welcome back, Wander! (Photo Credit: Tampa Bay Rays)

After sinking New York’s battleship on Friday, 4-2, the Tampa Bay Rays look for a series win this afternoon in the Bronx.

At 78-58 on the season, Tampa Bay enters play 20 games over .500. and 3.5 games back of the Yankees in the division. The Rays also maintain a two-game lead over the Mariners for the top AL Wildcard spot.

Drew Rasmussen got the start Friday and was dominant, blanking the Yankees and scattering six singles while walking none on 94 pitches (68 strikes, 72% strike rate). He struck out a career-high 10 batters. The right-hander coaxed 22 whiffs (23% SwStr%) in his outing and leaned heavily on his cutter 49% of the time. In turn, Rasmussen managed a 32.6% SwStr% on that pitch alone against an aggressive, free-swinging team from New York. He was the AL Pitcher of the Month in August and has a 1.38 ERA over his last seven starts. Overall, Rasmussen owns a 2.57 ERA and a 3.07 FIP (3.35 xFIP), with a 4.19 K/BB, and a 1.07 WHIP across 122.2 innings.

Meanwhile, Wander Franco was activated from the Injured List and made an immediate impact, driving in a pair of runs and scoring two more.

Franco didn’t waste any time, driving the first pitch he saw from Frankie Montas off the right-center field wall for a double. Randy Arozarena followed with a double of his own, opening the scoring and putting the Rays up by one.

Yet, Franco’s biggest hit came in the fourth inning as part of a three-run frame. In all fairness, the Rays were aided by All-Star caliber outfielder Aaron Hicks. He’s got it if you know what I mean. Ji-Man Choi walked with one out then moved up to second on a two-out single by Yandy Díaz. The shortstop was next.

Franco hit a fly ball down the left field line that went off the glove of a stunned Hicks, scoring two. Arozarena followed with his second double of the night, lining it over Hicks’ head to cap a three-run rally.

Hicks was consequently pulled from the game, and placed on the bench which is a shame, as he is now my favorite Yankee since Gary Sanchez.

The New What Next

Corey Kluber (10-7, 4.00 ERA) will get the start this afternoon, pitching opposite Jameson Taillon (12-4, 3.95 ERA).

Corey Kluber allowed no runs on two hits while striking out four and walking none over seven innings against the Yankees on Saturday. It was a vintage Kluber performance, as he limited the Yankees’ offense to just two hits, and tossed 62 of 88 pitches for strikes (70% strike rate) across seven frames. Kluber now has three consecutive wins in his last three turns and is on a streak of four quality starts. He has five quality starts in his last six games, with the exception being a seven-run clunker against the Orioles. After that game spiked his ERA to 4.40, Kluber pitched well and his ERA now sits at 4.00, with a 3.61 FIP, a 6.78 K/BB, and a 1.12 WHIP across 141.2 frames. He is 1-1 with a 1.08 ERA in four starts against the Yankees this season.

Jameson Taillon allowed two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out three batters against the Twins on Monday. Taillon departed his previous start early as a result of taking a line drive to his right forearm, although he didn’t need to miss a turn in the rotation. The right-hander threw 83 strikes Monday and allowed just one extra-base hit, but that was a fifth-inning two-run homer by Gary Sanchez. Taillon has given up at least one homer in each of his six starts since August 8, but he hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of those turns. Overall, he’s posted a 3.95 ERA and a 4.13 FIP, with a 1.14 WHIP, and 4.62 K/BB over 145.2 innings on the season. In one outing against the Rays this season, Taillon has allowed no runs on two hits across eight innings with five strikeouts. Key Matchups: Yandy Díaz (2-7, 2B, 2 RBI, BB), Brandon Lowe (2-7, 2B, BB), David Peralta (1-3, HR, 2 RBI)

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

Rays 9/10/22 Starting Lineup

  1. Díaz 3B
  2. Franco SS
  3. Arozarena DH
  4. Ramírez 1B
  5. Lowe 2B
  6. Margot RF
  7. Mejía C
  8. Peralta LF
  9. Siri CF


— Rays’ ace Shane McClanahan threw on Friday, and if he continues to feel good, he could start on Thursday against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

— Tyler Glasnow felt great following his return to the mound on Wednesday and will make his next rehab start for Durham on Tuesday.

— Unfortunately, the team announced that Brendan McKay will undergo Tommy John surgery. If he is moved to the 60-day IL at some point it would allow for additional roster flexibility.