After a third consecutive 11-inning victory, the Tampa Bay Rays will look to win the four-game series against the Boston Red Sox this afternoon, and continue to improve their playoff chances. At 92-63 on the season, Tampa Bay is 29-games over .500 for the first time since 2010 when they ended the season with a 96-66 record.
The Rays won each of the first two contests by a 5-4 margin, and have won three consecutive extra-inning ballgames for the first time in club history. They are now 22-16 in one-run games, including 21-9 after a 1-7 start. What’s more, they are 13-2 in their last 15 one-run games, and 17-6 in their last 23. The Rays now have nine walk-off wins — seven in the past 20 home games, and eight since July.
Tampa Bay enters play two-games behind Oakland for the top Wildcard spot, and one game ahead of Cleveland for the final AL playoff spot, thanks to Philadelphia’s 9-4 Interleague win last night.
Because of the Rays win and Cleveland’s loss, Tampa Bay’s chances of a postseason berth have soared to 72.6% per FanGraphs. Baseball Prospectus gives them a slightly less favorable, albeit drastically improved, 77.5% chance.
Tyler Glasnow was impressive across three innings on Saturday, allowing two hits with zero walks while punching out seven. The right-hander joined Andrew Kittredge and Shawn Camp as one of only three Rays to strike out seven in three innings or fewer. The team has been cautious with Glasnow, who missed a majority of the summer with a forearm strain, since he returned from the IL. He didn’t make it through the four innings the Rays had planned, yet he was spectacular in his time on the mound. Glasnow owns a 2.25 ERA with 17 strikeouts in eight innings (three outings) since returning from the IL. Overall, he is 6-1 with a 1.92 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and a .198 batting average against with 72 strikeouts across 56-1/3 innings this season. Glasnow will get one final regular-season tuneup against the Blue Jays on Friday.
Meanwhile, Willy Adames and Nate Lowe helped muscle the Rays to victory with a pair of crucial home runs.
Adames hit the longest homer of his career in the seventh inning against Josh Taylor, a 462-foot blast that caromed off the D-ring and onto the netting atop the batter’s eye in centerfield.
It was the loudest home run I’ve ever heard, Adames’ first longball at home since August 6, and the second-longest homer at the Trop this season.
Lowe’s two-run homer against Josh Smith became the third time in franchise history that the Rays homered in extra innings to turn a deficit into a walk-off win.
It was Lowe’s second homer since being recalled on September 1, after his first five homers came in a six-game span from July 5-13.
The New What Next
Ryan Yarbrough (11-4, 3.78 ERA) will get the start on Sunday, pitching opposite of Nate Eovaldi (1-0, 6.19 ERA).
Ryan Yarbrough allowed six runs on 10 hits and two walks across five innings on Sunday, striking out just three batters. After allowing three runs in the first two innings, Yarbrough settled down before Albert Pujols crushed him with a three-run shot in the fifth. It was the southpaw’s first loss since June 13, which was also the last time he faced the Angels. He carries a 3.78 ERA into his start on Sunday. Yarbrough is 2-0 with a 4.80 ERA in three outings (one start) against Boston this season.
Nathan Eovaldi allowed five earned runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out six across four innings against the Giants on Tuesday. Eovaldi surrendered two solo homers and was sunk by a general lack of command. Most notably, the former Ray walked two of the first three batters he faced to begin the third inning, resulting in a three-run frame. He had pitched fairly well entering Tuesday’s ballgame, allowing only seven earned runs across his prior 16-1/3 innings of work, yet Eovaldi still owns an ugly 5.81 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP across 52-2/3 innings on the season. The Rays have faced Eovaldi twice in a relief role (1-2/3 innings), tagging the right-hander for three runs on six hits and a walk. Key Matchups: Micahel Brosseau (1-1), Ji-Man Choi (2-3, RBI), Travis d’Arnaud (3-9, 2 2B, RBI, 2 BB), Guillermo Heredia (1-1), Kevin Kiermaier (2-8, 3B, 3 RBI, 2 BB), Austin Meadows (1-1, 2B, RBI, BB), Tommy Pham (1-3, BB), Eric Sogard (3-8), Joey Wendle (2-3, 2B)
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.
Rays 9/22/19 Starting Lineup
- Wendle 3B
- Meadows RF
- Pham LF
- Choi DH
- B. Lowe 2B
- N. Lowe 1B
- Adames SS
- Kiermaier CF
- Zunino C
— The Rays have activated INF Brandon Lowe from the 60-day Injured List. Lowe has been sidelined since July 2nd with leg injuries. To make room for Lowe on the 40-man roster, UTL Kean Wong has been designated for assignment.
— It is not clear if Avisail Garcia will be available this afternoon after leaving Friday’s game due to an unspecified illness resulting in dizziness.
— Eric Sogard has been sidelined with a bruised right foot that he suffered during the last homestand.