A day after clinching their first postseason berth in six years, the Tampa Bay Rays fell to the Toronto Blue Jays 4-1 on Saturday. With the loss, the Rays can only tie the franchise mark for the best regular-season record ever, set by the 2008 ballclub.
With the loss and the Athletics’ 1-0 win, the Rays will be heading to Oakland for the AL Wildcard game.
Ryan Yarbrough got off to his second consecutive slow start on Saturday, allowing base hits to each of the first four batters he faced and surrendering a home run to Teoscar Hernandez — his second homer in as many days. Yarbrough eventually settled in and allowed just one hit over his final four frames. All told, he allowed three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three across five innings. If the Rays advance to the ALDS, expect Yarbrough to pitch behind an opener. The southpaw enters the postseason with an 11-6 record, a 4.13 ERA and a 3.56 FIP, a 1.00 WHIP, and a 5.85 K/BB.
The Rays had nine base runners throughout the game, on three hits and six walks, but they couldn’t generate any offense, going 0-3 wRISP. Matt Duffy accounted for the only run of the day, slugging his first home run of the season in the top of the 7th inning, and cutting the Rays’ deficit to 3-1
Speaking of sluggers, Tampa Bay has activated Yandy Díaz from the 60-day Injured List. In order to make room for Díaz on the 40-man roster, reliever Cole Sulser has been designated for assignment.
Díaz appeared in an Instructional League game Friday and made six plate appearances, showing enough improvement to lead to his activation. He will be limited to DH/pinch-hit duties.
I saw some iPhone clips of it, and he looked pretty normal. The plan is for him to get on a plane. Get here this evening, and then we’ll see what we do with him tomorrow.
Yandy is not going to play the field, so he’s going to impact us, if we go that way, with his bat. Then we’ll decide if we run for him if needed, and stuff like that. But every day, we’re buying more time of him healing.— Kevin Cask
Díaz hasn’t suited up since late July when he landed on the IL with a hairline fracture left foot. He was held out of baseball activities for nearly two months as a result of the injury.
With his return, Díaz could factor into postseason play for the Rays. The 28-year-old could be of value in the one-game matchup against the Athletics when southpaw Sean Manaea could start. Díaz has fared against left-handers all season, slashing .311 BA/.393 OBP/.583 SLG/.976 OPS with seven homers and a .272 ISO, when he has a platoon advantage.
The New What Next
The final game of the regular season is set for this afternoon with Blake Snell (6-7, 4.21 ERA) getting the start, pitching opposite of Clay Buchholz (1-5, 7.00 ERA).
Blake Snell allowed one run on two hits and three walks while striking out three over 1-2/3 innings against the Red Sox on Monday. Snell struggled with his command, allowing three free passes before being pulled in the second inning after allowing a run on a double. The Rays are still easing the left-hander back into his usual workload, and he was not expected to pitch more than a few innings. Snell has a 4.21 ERA with 143 strikeouts through 22 starts this season.
Clay Buchholz allowed six runs on six hits and three walks while striking out four over four innings against the Orioles on Monday. Buchholz was hit hard, allowing three home runs, including two in the fifth inning. The right-hander has a 1-5 record with a 7.00 ERA and 33 strikeouts across 11 starts this season. He is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in two 2019 starts against the Rays. Key Matchups: Willy Adames (3-4, 2 2B), Austin Meadows (3-8, RBI), Tommy Pham (1-3), Joey Wendle (2-2)
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.
Rays 9/29/19 Starting Lineup
- Diaz DH
- Pham LF
- Choi 1B
- Garcia RF
- Kiermaier CF
- Robertson 2B
- Duffy 3B
- Zunino C
- Adames SS
— Eric Sogard said that he is making progress and he is taking some swings, and there is a possibility he could be available for Wednesday’s Wildcard game.
— Free on this afternoon? Join us at Golden Dinosaurs Vegan Deli for only last regular season watch party, as we celebrate the Rays playoff berth!
Let’s fill the patio with blue — both light and dark — grey, and sunburst yellow. Discounts for Rays fans…oh, and did I mention fun and camaraderie? Help cheer on OUR crew, hope to see you there!
Do they owe is a Wildcard? Of course they do, of course, they do!