After defeating the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday, 3-1, the Tampa Bay Rays will look to sweep the series and continue to improve their Wildcard odds this afternoon. The Rays can equal last year’s win total with a victory with 11 games left to play.
The Rays start the day a half-game behind Oakland for the top Wildcard spot, and 2-1/2 games ahead of Cleveland for the final AL playoff spot. Per FanGraphs, Tampa Bay has an 82.1% chance of a postseason berth — up 13.6% from Friday. Baseball Prospectus gives the Rays a more favorable 91.8% chance of reaching the postseason for the first time since 2013.
Tyler Glasnow didn’t factor into the decision on Saturday, giving up two hits and a walk across three scoreless frames. He struck out five. Glasnow got stretched out to 51 pitches (29 strikes, 57% strike rate) in his second outing since returning from the IL, and looked much sharper in this one than he did last weekend against Toronto. Glasnow has a 3.33 K/BB across five innings in September, and the team will continue gradually ramp-up his workload as it tries to lock down a postseason. He is scheduled to face Boston at home, on Friday.
Meanwhile, prior to Saturday’s ballgame, the Rays averaged more than six runs a game over the last 15 contests. Yet, they were kept in check by Jaime Barria across the first five frames. Tampa Bay didn’t get a runner past first base over that stretch and collected just a pair of base hits and a walk.
That changed in the sixth inning though. Barria allowed a one-out single to Joey Wendle and a walk to Austin Meadows and was subsequently lifted for Kenyan Middleton. After Tommy Pham flew out to deep right, which allowed Wendle to move up to third, left-hander Miguel Del Pozo entered the game to face Ji-Man Choi. Meadows swiped second and Choi walked on the seventh pitch of the at-bat, loading the bases. The fourth pitcher of the inning, Taylor Cole, entered to face Travis d’Arnaud, and the Rays backstop lined a full-count pitch over the head of Michael Hermosillo in left for a three-run double.
The two-base knock gave d’Arnaud 63 RBI since joining Tampa Bay at the end of May.
While things got a little messy in the seventh inning — Nick Anderson hit a batter and uncorked a pair of wild pitches which allowed a run to cross the plate — Oliver Drake and Emilio Pagan were efficient and dominant in the eighth and ninth innings, retiring the last six hitters of the game on 20 combined pitches (15 strikes) with four strikeouts.
The New What Next
Ryan Yarbrough (11-3, 3.51 ERA) will get the start for the Rays, pitching opposite of fellow southpaw Patrick Sandoval (0-3, 5.28 ERA).
Ryan Yarbrough allowed three runs on three hits and a walk over seven innings while striking out seven on Tuesday against the Rangers. Texas struck for all three of its runs in the fourth inning, with the big blow being a two-run homer by Nick Solak. Yarbrough exited in line for his fourth loss of the season until the Rays tied things up in the top of the eighth. The left-hander will take a 3.51 ERA and a 7.3 K/BB through 128-1/3 innings into the start in the series finale.
Patrick Sandoval gave up three earned runs on five hits over 3-1/3 innings against Cleveland on Monday. He struck out four and walked two in the 6-2 loss. Sandoval didn’t have his best stuff, with most of the damage against him coming on a two-run homer by Jason Kipnis in the second inning. The 22-year-old has a respectable 2.62 K/BB across 29 innings, but his 5.28 ERA is unimpressive. Sandoval is also on a pitch count, so don’t expect him to pitch deeply in the ballgame on Sunday. He relies primarily on a 93 mph four-seam fastball and an 83 mph swing & miss changeup, while also mixing in a 77 mph 12-6 curveball and an 86 mph worm-killer slider.
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.
Rays 9/15/19 Starting Lineup
- Pham DH
- Meadows LF
- Garcia RF
- Aguilar 1B
- Wendle 2B
- Duffy 3B
- Adames SS
- Kiermaier CF
- Zunino C
— It isn’t clear if Mike Trout, who missed the first two games with a nerve issue in his right foot, will DH this afternoon.