After a come-from-behind, 5-3, win over the Texas Rangers in 11 innings on Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Rays look to continue their terrific run tonight.
At 28-games over .500, Tampa Bay (87-59) has won six consecutive games, and 11 of 12 to maintain their lead in the AL Wildcard race. The Rays enter play 1-1/2 games ahead of the Athletics for the top Wildcard spot, and two games in front of Cleveland for the final AL playoff spot.
FanGraphs gives Tampa Bay an 83.6% chance of a postseason berth, while Baseball Prospectus gives them an even more favorable 92.0% chance of reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
In spite of the positive outcomes, the Rays are still banged up, especially on the position player side of things. Tommy Pham (sore right elbow/forearm) is back in the lineup, yet Avisail Garcia exited Tuesday’s contest with right hip tightness. He is listed as day-to-day. And while Eric Sogard pinch-hit last night — his first appearance since he fouled a ball off his foot on Friday — neither he nor Kevin Kiermaier (neck spasms) are in tonight’s lineup (below).
What’s more, Hoby Milner (cervical nerve issue) has been placed on the 60-day Injured List. Milner is the 24th different Ray to go on the IL. Due to the injuries, outfielder Johnny Davis has been promoted from Durham. Davis was signed out of the Mexican League (in late August), where he swiped 54 bases. He later stole three bases with Double-A Montgomery.
The addition of Davis could be fun heading into the home stretch of the regular and into the playoffs.
The New What Next
Andrew Kittredge (1-0, 4.17 ERA) will get the start for the Rays and could be followed by Jalen Beeks (6-3, 4.32 ERA) or Austin Pruitt. They’ll be opposed by Ariel Jurado (7-10, 5.40 ERA).
Andrew Kittredge, who threw two perfect innings in relief on Friday against Toronto, will open his seventh game of the season.
Jalen Beeks allowed four hits over three scoreless innings against Cleveland two Saturdays ago. He struck out one and walked none. Beeks worked as the primary pitcher but entered the game with a runner on first base in the second inning. He ended up with his shortest outing since June 21 even though he did not allow a run. Beeks has a 4.41 ERA on the season, with a 1.48 WHIP and a 2.16 K/BB across 98 innings on the season. With the plethora of bullpen options available right now, the southpaw will likely be on a very short leash.
Ariel Jurado allowed five runs on seven hits over four innings during against the Yankees on Tuesday. He struck out three. Edinson Volquez worked as the opener and allowed two runs. Jurado fired four scoreless frames before he fell apart in the sixth inning when he allowed five hits — including two homers — and recording zero put-outs. The 23-year-old has a 5.40 ERA, a 1.46 WHIP, and a 2.29 K/BB over 116-2/3 innings on the season. Jurado relies primarily on a 92 mph sinker with some natural sinking action and a 93 mph four-seam fastball, while also mixing in an 86 mph 12-6 slider, a firm 85 mph changeup with armside fade, and a hard 81 mph 12-6 curveball.
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.
Rays 9/11/19 Starting Lineup
- Wendle 2B
- Pham DH
- Meadows LF
- d’Arnaud C
- Choi 1B
- Duffy 3B
- Wong RF
- Heredia CF
- Adames SS
— Yonny Chirinos will throw a 20 pitch/one inning (whichever comes first) simulated game for the instructional league in Port Charlotte today. Brandon Lowe, who’s been sidelined with a quad issue, will face Chirinos.
— Blake Snell, who threw a bullpen session yesterday in Arlington, will throw two innings or 30 pitches for Triple-A Durham tomorrow. If all goes as planned, Snell could pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers after that. Durham is the only Rays affiliate remaining in the postseason.
— Hmmm, sigh…
I love when people extol the virtues of open-air stadiums, opining one should be built in Tampa (or St. Pete). Yet the always tend to forget two things:
1. Thanks to climate change, the region will be marginally warmer, and 9.1 inches of precipitation wetter in the near future, leading to maximum fan discomfort and lots of rain delays/postponements.
2. TAMPA CANNOT AFFORD TO BUILD A NEW STADIUM, HENCE THE REASON THE RAYS PULLED THE PLUG ON THE DEAD FROM THE START YBOR PROPOSAL.
It’s even funnier when people who work in the local media promote such ideas via their Twitter feeds, not realizing (and/or caring) that they are tacitly advocating for the public subsidization of a baseball stadium on behalf of a newspaper which, in all honesty, should be shining light on such things. And so it goes.