After a biting 7-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Tampa Bay Rays will look to split the two-game series, and the eight-game road trip, Wednesday night. The Rays also look to hold onto the slim half-game lead in the Wildcard race.
Tampa Bay enters play two games behind Oakland for the top Wildcard spot, and a half-game ahead of Cleveland with 10 games left to play. Both the Athletics and Cleveland won last night.
Given the two straight losses, FanGraphs gives the Rays a diminished 57.8% shot at a postseason berth — down 24.3% since Saturday. Baseball Prospectus gives them a more favorable — albeit not that much — 59.5% chance of making the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
The New What Next
Brendan McKay (2-4, 5.27 ERA) will get the start for the Rays tonight, pitching opposite of Tony Gonsolin (3-2, 2.83 ERA).
Brendan McKay gave up three earned runs on six hits across 3-1/3 innings, striking out two and walking two. After dominating the Blue Jays in an abbreviated 3-2/3 inning start his last time out, McKay couldn’t carry it over to this contest. The southpaw has shown flashes of brilliance this season, although his overall numbers remain pretty “meh”, with a 5.27 ERA and 1.45 WHIP across 42-2/3 innings. He is expected to hit tonight, assuming that the score of the game is favorable at that point.
Tony Gonsolin tossed three innings in his last outing and allowed one run on two hits while striking out four. Gonsolin was expected to follow Rich Hill after two innings, but the Dodgers were forced to bridge the gap with two additional relievers after Hill left after retiring only two batters. Gonsolin was unphased, allowing a solo home run to Pedro Severino but otherwise limited Baltimore to a single while whiffing four across three innings. The 25-year-old has been good in eight appearances, posting a 2.83 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP and 3.1 K/BB across 35 innings. Superlatives aside, Gonsolin has only once pitched more than five innings, and that was back at the beginnings of August. Gonsolin relies primarily on a 93 mph four-seam fastball and a firm 86 mph splitter with a lot of backspin and arm-side run, while also mixing in an 88 mph 12-6 slider, and an 81 mph 12-6 curveball with sharp downward bite.
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.
Rays 9/18/19 Starting Lineup
- Meadows RF
- Pham LF
- Lowe 3B
- Choi 1B
- d’Arnaud C
- Wendle 2B
- Garcia CF
- Adames SS
- McKay LHP
— Pham for the win once again:
— Blake Snell was impressive on Tuesday, pitching two perfect innings while striking out four. Snell showed no rust from his nearly two-month absence after undergoing the knife, tossing 17 of 26 pitches for strikes (65% strike rate) and whiffing four of the six batters he faced. The outing was a great step for the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner as Snell looks to build stamina in anticipation of a playoff run. The left-hander maintains a 4.19 ERA and 1.22 WHIP across 21 starts this season. He’ll likely square off against the Red Sox on Monday, although he will likely be on a short leash.