The Rays have CF Desmond Jennings back in the lineup today. And they called up OF Kevin Kiermaier to add depth to the bench.
Jennings cf, Myers rf, Zobrist 2b, longoria 3b, young DH, Rodriguez LF, Loney 1b, Escobar SS, Molina c, price p
Rays OF Wil Myers, a leading candidate for the AL Rookie of the Year award, finished the season strong by winning the AL Rookie of the Month award for September.
He wasn't the only Ray honored at the end of the season as 1B James Loney was named co-player of the week, along with Texas OF Alex Rios.
UPDATE, 5:46: Somewhat surprisingly, Jennings is in the Rays lineup, as the have 8 righthanded hitters to combat Rangers LHP Martin Perez. And Nelson Cruz, fresh off his suspension, is in the Rangers lineup.
UPDATE, 4:22: CF Desmond Jennings went through a workout in CF to test his left hamstring this afternoon, with several team officials, from executive VP Andrew Friedman on down looking on. It was the first time Jennings tested his hamstring, strained Sept. 22, in the field; he had been limited to running lightly.
DEVELOPING: The Rays' chances to make the postseason come down to one game tonight in Texas against the Rangers.
The winner gets to advance to Wednesday's wild-card game in Cleveland, another win-or-go-home affair.
But to get there, and make the playoffs for the fourth time in six seasons, the Rays have to beat the Rangers, after both teams finished 91-71, a game behind the Indians for the second wild card. …Full Story
Rays ace David Price, talking Sunday, about tonight's start in the tiebreaker game against the Rangers.
Rays lefty Matt Moore talks about Sunday's tense win that put the Rays into a tie-breaking game.Full Story
One more game.Full Story
The Rays extended their season at season for at least another day by hanging on to beat the Blue Jays 7-6 on Sunday.
At the least, the Rays will play one tiebreaker game today, in either Texas or Cleveland, pending their later games.
If both win, the Rays will play at the Rangers Monday at 8:07 to be the second wild behind the Indians. If both lose, the Rays and Indians tie, the Rays hold the tiebreaker and are the top wild card and host the Indians on Wednesday at the Trop. If the Indians win and and Rangers lose, the Rays are the second wild card and play at Cleveland on Wednesday.
That was the easy part.
If the Rangers win and Indians lose, there is a three-way tie, and thus the first three-team tiebreaker in major-league history, with the Rays playing at the Indians Monday at 4:07, with the winner one of the wild-cards and the loser playing at the Rangers on Tuesday to determine the other wild-card.
After losing the first two games to the Jays, the Rays spoke a lot about needing to get back on their game, especially offensively, and they did so scoring six in the first and taking a 7-0 lead into the sixth. But first starter Matt Moore and then the bullpen faltered, and the Jays got to within 7-6 in the eighth with the bases loaded before Fernando Rodney struck out Moises Sierra.
Rodney then allowed a leadoff single but got them through the ninth.
There was some excitement in the seventh. First, Rays manager Joe Maddon went to the mound ostensibly to talk "to" reliever Joel Peralta after he loaded the bases, but in a common tactic uses that forum to indirectly complain about ball-and-strike calls. Home plate umpire Paul Schrieber walked up and obviously heard enough, quickly tossing Maddon, who argued vehemently for several minutes before walking off the field.
If the idea was to fire up his team, it worked. Peralta threw a good pitch that Lind grounded up the middle and SS Yunel Escobar, booed in each at-bat by the Roger Centre fans, made a dazzling play, scooping in on the run, racing to second for the force out then throwing almost sidearm to first, where James Loney - somehow - made a diving scoop to complete the inning ending double play.
But the Jays rallied again in the eighth, scoring two more as Peralta had more trouble and Rodney had to be summoned. It peaked when the Jays loaded the bases again, but Rodney escaped.
With St. Petersburg native Todd Redmond on the mound for Toronto on Sunday, they quickly turned talk into action, scoring six runs in the first inning and sending nine men to the plate. It was their biggest first inning in more than two years (since Sept. 10, 2010 at Toronto) and just the third time this season they batted around in the first inning, first since May 8 (at home vs. Toronto).
Rookie Wil Myers got them started with a one-out double, James Loney followed with an RBI single and Evan Longoria doubled him home for a 2-0 lead. With two outs and a full-count, Delmon Young singled up the middle to score Longoria. Matt Joyce drew a walk which ended the day for Redmond, the product of Northside Christian and St. Petersburg College who said Saturday he was hoping to beat the Rays and send them home.
Jose Lobaton greeted reliever Neil Wagner with a double to deep center that scored two, and then Yunel Escobar, still being booed by the Rogers Centre crowd, singled in Lobaton to make it 6-0.
Rays starter Matt Moore didn't handle the comfortable margin well initially, walking three of the first four Jays batters, helped by Loney starting a nifty double play. But a visit from pitching coach Jim Hickey once again did the trick, as Moore settled down and settled in, retiring six in a row and 14 of the next 16.
Moore ran into trouble quickly in the sixth, allowing four straight hits, which led to three Toronto runs, and was replaced by Jake McGee. Brett Lawrie and Moises Sierra singled, then Mark DeRosa doubled off the left-centerfield wall to score them both. Ryan Langerhans followed with a single, ending Moore's day after 93 pitches. McGee allowed a sac fly to J.P. Arencibia that made it 7-3, then got them out of the inning.
If Rays win and … Full Story
Cleveland and Texas win: Indians in, Rays at Rangers for Monday tiebreaker, 8:07
Cleveland loses and Texas wins: 3-way tie, Rays at Indians on Monday at 4:07, loser at Texas on Tuesday at 4:07
Cleveland wins and Texas loses: Rays and Indians are wild cards, play at Cleveland on Wednesday, 8:07
Cleveland and Texas lose: Rays and Indians are wild cards, play at St. Petersburg on Wednesday, 8:07
If Rays lose and …
Cleveland and Texas win: Rays out, Rangers play at Indians on Wednesday, 8:07
Cleveland loses and Texas wins: Rays out, Rangers play at Indians on Wednesday, 8:07
Cleveland wins and Texas loses: Indians in, Rays at Rangers for Monday tiebreaker, 8:07
Cleveland and Texas lose: Indians in, Rays at Rangers for Monday tiebreaker, 8:07
UPDATE, 12:01: Maddon said he made the lineup last night the other way, then woke up today and decided to put DeJesus at the top. ... The bullpen is in pretty good shape, so Maddon said he would stay way from using either David Price or Alex Cobb, who would start their next two games, wherever they are. ... Maddon said RHP Jesse Crain won't be able to pitch, and there would be an annoucement on his status in the next day or so. ... CF Desmond Jennings said he is still not ready to play in the field; Maddon said he Jennings has been running at 70-80 percent and while he is not ready to play in the field can continue to be used as a pinch-hitter and possibly as a DH in upcoming games.
UPDATE, 10:45: Slight change to the Rays lineup, DeJesus is leading off, Zobrist hitting fifth.
So new version:
DEVELOPING: The Rays will take the field today in Toronto with eight scenarios regarding their postseason possibilities, but the simplest is this: If they win, they have extended their season at least to won tiebreaker game on Monday. …Full Story
Rays veteran reliever Jamey Wright talks about his rough outing in Saturday's 7-2 loss.
Rays rookie Chris Archer talks about his abbreviated start in Saturday's loss to the Jays.
The Rays lost another game to the last-place Jays 7-2 on Saturday and lost control of their own destiny to get straight to the wild-card game heading into what will be a wild final day of the regular season.Full Story
The Rays are now tied with the Rangers, who beat the Angels again, at 90-71, and one-half game behind the Indians, whose game at Minnesota started late after a rain delay.
So the Rays (90-71) go into Sunday needing to win to at least extend their season to a tiebreaking Game 163 on Monday, but that's all they can control. Depending on what the Indians and Rangers do, it's possible the Rays could be in a one-game playoff at Texas on Monday or part of a three way tie, which would have the Rays playing in Cleveland Monday and - if they lose - again on Tuesday in Texas, just to get to the wild-card game, which would be Wednesday night, and much less likely to be at Trop.
The Rays will have Matt Moore on the mound Sunday, the Jays are scheduled to start Todd Redmond, a St. Petersburg native and product of Northside Christian and St. Petersburg College.
On the positive side, the Rays are in a position to keep playing as long as they keep winning. But they could have made things much easier - and significantly less complicated - with a win on Saturday, and it started ut well.
The Rays took a 1-0 lead in the first Saturday, but rookie starter Chris Archer allowed three straight singles, and the tying run, to open the third and manager Joe Maddon waited only one more batter to go to the bullpen, summoning Alex Torres. That got the rays through the third, but when Torres allowed a bunt single and an infield single in the fourth, Maddon called for Jamey Wright, the 18-year veteran trying to reach the postseason for the first time.
That didn't work out too well, as Wright loaded the bases with a walk to Brett Lawrie and allowed a two-run single to Adam Lind that put the Jasy up 3-1. The fifth was worse, as Wright allowed a leadoff single and a two-run homer to Ryan Goins. Brandon Gomes finally replaced Wright, and he gave up a two-run homer to his first batter, making it 7-1.
After winning seven straight, the Rays have not looked anything like a playoff team these first two games in Toronto, making a season-high three errors on Friday and then managing just six hits on Saturday.
UPDATE, 11:50: SS Yunel Escobar is back in the Rays lineup, and should be good to go from here out. ... Maddon said he was confident the Rays would shake off the disappointment of Friday's loss. ... Team officials are working on contingency plans if they have to go to Cleveland for a tie-breaker game on Monday (which would be at 4 p.m.) and the Texas on Tuesday. ... If you are into omens, the Jays at first base today have Ryan Langerhans, who in 2009, when playing for Seattle, hit a walkoff homer off J.P. Howell that effectively ended the Rays season.
DEVELOPING: Coming off a sloppy loss to the Jays last night, the Rays take this field this afternoon still in control of their own destiny to win a wild-card playoff spot.
Simply put, if the Rays (90-70) win their final two games they are the top wild-card and host Wednesday's game against either the Indians or Rangers. …Full Story
Rays going heavy lefty vs. knuckleballer Dickey tonight, and giving Escobar an extra day.
Rays lineup: Joyce rf, Zobrist SS, longoria 3b, Loney 1b, DeJesus LF, Delmon DH, Johnson 2b, lobaton c, Fuld cf, Hellickson p
JAMES BORCHUCK | Times
Tonight could be a tough night, as the Rays are starting the extremely inconsistent Jeremy Hellickson.
UPDATE, 6:12: Maddon found it curious that the Jays planned to keep the Rogers Centre roof closed on what has been a very nice day, with the obvious coincidence that Dickey pitches better with the roof closed.
UPDATE, 6:03: Maddon went lefty heavy in his lineup tonight hoping to combat Dickey's knuckleball, with only two righthanders, Evan Longoria and Delmon Young. Specifically that included not wanting to explose Myers to the knuckleball. ... Maddon said Escobar could have started and is likely to come in late for defense, but giving him a little more rest for his ankle won't hurt. Escobar is expected to start Saturday. CF Desmond Jennings is still not ready to return to the field due to his hamstring strain, but may continue to be used as a pinch-hitter. ... LHP Enny Romero and OF/PR Freddy Guzman did not travel with the team but are expected in Toronto by gametime as they were delayed by work visa issues. ... There was nothing definitive on RHP Jesse Crain, but it still seems unlikely he will pitch this weekend. …Full Story
MARC TOPKIN / TIMES
The full group of Rays rookie players and coaches.
The Rays held their annual rookie dress up after Thursday's game, with an eclectic collection of Halloween style costumes on display.