After a 7-4 loss on Sunday, the Tampa Bay Rays will look to win their four-game series against the Boston Red Sox tonight and maintain a hold on a Wildcard spot with a week left in the season.
With six games left (one vs. Boston, two vs. New York, and three vs. Toronto), Tampa Bay starts the day two games behind Oakland for the top Wildcard and tied with Cleveland for the last playoff spot. Cleveland is off today, so the Rays can move a half-game ahead with a victory tonight.
Because of the loss, Tampa Bay’s chances of a postseason berth fell to 72.6% per FanGraphs. Baseball Prospectus gives them a diminished 60.5% chance. Even so, both projection systems favor the Rays over Cleveland, although that could change with less than a win tonight.
After missing the last two games due to dizziness, Avisail Garcia will return to the lineup tonight. Eric Sogard, however, is still dealing with a bruised foot which he suffered during the last homestand; he has started just once since.
The New What Next
Blake Snell (6-7, 4.19 ERA) will open the game for the Rays tonight, pitching opposite of Jhoulys Chacin (0-1, 4.32 ERA with Boston, 3-11, 5.66 ERA overall).
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.
Jhoulys Chacín allowed two hits and walked two while fanning three over 2-2/3 scoreless frames as an opener on Thursday against the Blue Jays. Chacin, who had not allowed a baserunner in his first two outings with the Red Sox, faced his first bit of adversity since yet avoided any damage. The veteran has thrown 5-2/3 scoreless innings for Boston. Over his career, Chacín is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in three outings (one Start). Key Matchups: Avisail Garcia (2-3, 2B), Guillermo Heredia (1-3, RBI), Mike Zunino (2-4, 2B, RBI)
You can read about the series in our preview, and the starting lineup is below.
Rays 9/23/19 Starting Lineup
- Wendle 3B
- Pham DH
- Meadows LF
- d’Arnaud C
- Choi 1B
- Garcia RF
- B. Lowe 2B
- Kiermaier CF
- Adames SS