The Rays popped off for five runs at the Trop on Saturday. (Photo Credit: X-Rays Spex)

After a 5-1 bounce-back win over the Rangers on Saturday, the Tampa Bay Rays will go for the series victory this afternoon at the Trop.

At 81-64 on the season, the Rays enter play 17 games above .500. With the win last night and Seattle’s loss — thanks, Shohei — Tampa Bay again maintains sole possession of the second AL Wildcard spot with 17 left to play. Were the playoffs to start today, the Rays would face the Blue Jays.

Ryan Yarbrough pitched the bulk innings for the Rays, behind opener Shawn Armstrong, on Saturday. Yarbrough put together three innings of one-run ball on four hits (including a solo homer) with one strikeout and one walk. The left-hander looked to complete the top of the fifth inning, yet Marcus Semien singled with one out. After a popout, Nathaniel Lowe singled, ending Yarbough’s outing. Overall, he maintains a 4.33 ERA and a 4.45 FIP, with a 2.86 K/BB, and a 1.34 WHIP across 79.0 innings. Beyond that, though, since stabilizing his new release point in July, he has a solid 3.21 ERA and 3.47 FIP, and a 2.33 ERA and 2.85 FIP in his previous five outings.

Meanwhile, the Rays scored early against Jon Gray. Gray hit Jonathan Aranda to open the bottom of the first. Wander Franco followed with a single, while Harold Ramírez reached on a fielder’s choice, putting runners on the corners. David Peralta hit a sacrifice fly to score Aranda, putting Tampa Bay up by a run.

In the third inning, José Siri led off with a single and swiped second. Siri moved up to third after Aranda’s groundout. Franco then flew out to left plating a run and making the score 2-0.

They extended the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Taylor Hearn entered The contest after Gray struck out Ji-Man Choi to open the frame. The first pitch Hearn threw to Taylor Walls was deposited into the left-field seats, putting Tampa Bay up by a pair. It was Walls’ first right-handed home of the season.

Tampa Bay capped the scoring with two more runs in the seventh. After Choi drew a one-out walk, Dennis Santana entered in relief of Hearn. Siri legged out an infield hit to keep the inning alive for Isaac Paredes, who doubled to right-center.

The New What Next

Jeffrey Springs (8-4, 2.41 ERA) will get the start in the finale, pitching opposite Glenn Otto (6-8, 4.71 ERA).

Jeffrey Springs allowed three hits and two walks over six scoreless innings in the first game of a doubleheader in Toronto. He struck out five. Springs didn’t let a Toronto baserunner get past second base as he extended his current scoreless streak to 16.2 innings. He also delivered his fifth quality start of the season, and since moving into the rotation at the beginning of May, he boasts a 2.55 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP, and 4.31 K/BB through 106 innings. Springs allowed two runs on two hits and two walks across five innings in his previous start against Texas. He struck out seven.

Glenn Otto gave up two runs on three hits and two walks over six innings against Miami on Monday. He struck out two. The right-hander exited the game in line for his ninth loss of the year, although Texas’ offense got going in the seventh inning. The quality start was Otto’s sixth of the season, but three of them have come in eight outings since the beginning of August, a stretch during which he sports a 3.37 ERA and a 1.65 K/BB through 42.2 innings. In his previous start against the Rays, Otto allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits and three walks. Key Matchups: Ji-Man Choi (1-3), Wander Franco (1-2, RBI, BB), Isaac Paredes (1-2, 2B), José Siri (2-4)

You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup is below.

Rays 9/18/22 Starting Lineup

  1. Díaz 3B
  2. Aranda 2B
  3. Margot RF
  4. Ramírez 1B
  5. Peralta RF
  6. Bethancourt C
  7. Siri CF
  8. Choi DH
  9. Walls SS