After finishing their final road trip of the season on Sunday, the Tampa Bay Rays are set to begin a four-game series against the New York Yankees. At 87-68 on the season, Tampa Bay can move to 20 games above .500 for the first time this season with a win.
Tampa Bay needs to win at least three of the final seven games to get to 90 for the first time since 2013. Two more wins would help the Rays reach 50 at home. Per Neil Solondz, so far only the Red Sox, Yankees, and Athletics have won 50 games in their home ballpark.
The Rays remain mathematically alive in the AL Wildcard race, although they will need a lot of help from Seattle this week, as they sit 6.5 games behind the Oakland Athletics for the final Wildcard spot with 7 games remaining. However, Tampa Bay’s tragic number is down to one, meaning one more Oakland win or Rays loss officially ends it.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are trying to stay ahead of Oakland for the top Wildcard spot, as they look to host that game.
The New What Next
Diego Castillo (3-2, 3.25 ERA) will open for the Rays, pitching opposite of Jonathan Holder (1-3, 2.97 ERA), not Luis Severino as previously thought. This could likely be due, in part, to lining up their Wildcard starter properly. Ryan Yarbrough is expected to pitch the bulk of the innings.
Castillo has been the Rays’ opener on 10 occasions so far this season, and Monday will mark the 11th. Castillo allowed one run on one hit (a home run) in one inning of work on Friday. Otherwise, the right-hander has given up just two runs in his last eight appearances (totaling 11-2/3 innings) while striking out 15 and walking just two (a 7.5 K/BB over that stretch).
Yarbrough picked up his 15th win of the season on Wednesday, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks across four innings. He struck out six. The southpaw wasn’t exactly sharp, but he was able to pick up the win thanks to a plethora of run support from Tampa Bay’s offense. Working primarily as a long reliever, the southpaw has posted a 3.88 ERA and 1.28 WHIP with 123 strikeouts across 139-1/3 innings this season.
Holder has faced the Rays on five occasions and has allowed runs in two of those outings.
Rays 9/24/18 Starting Lineup
You can read about the series in our preview.
— Kevin Kiermaier, who banged his shoulder on a catch yesterday and aggravated it on a check swing, is available off the bench today. Willy Adames is sick for the second straight day, although he too is available.
— Carlos Gomez was fined by Major League Baseball for comments about umpire Andy Fletcher, although he plans to appeal. Gomez did not disclose the amount of the fine saying, “I don’t think it’s fair,” yet sources say it was for $10,000.
You can read more about what led up to the fine below.