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Ryan Thompson says rough stretch won’t break Rays’ bonds

Notes | The reliever says the team will be ready for the series with Baltimore that unexpectedly has AL playoff implications.
Even though the Orioles series this weekend may have playoff implications down the road, Ryan Thompson says: "We’re not looking at this series as anything bigger than any other series and we’re just going to attack it and try to get every win we can.”
Even though the Orioles series this weekend may have playoff implications down the road, Ryan Thompson says: "We’re not looking at this series as anything bigger than any other series and we’re just going to attack it and try to get every win we can.” [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]
Published Aug. 11|Updated Aug. 12

ST. PETERSBURG — It certainly wouldn’t have seemed likely going into the season, and maybe not even a month ago. But this weekend’s series between the Rays and Orioles could have a big impact on the American League playoff race.

The Orioles (58-53) come to Tropicana Field a half-game behind the Rays for the third and final wild-card spot.

The Rays enter tonight’s series opener having lost two tight games in Milwaukee, 7-11 since the All-Star break and 58-52 overall.

“Nothing changes just because we had a couple of tough games,” reliever Ryan Thompson said after giving up the walkoff hit in Wednesday’s loss. “There’s always a way to evaluate what we could have done better. So in that regard maybe there are things that we can tweak here and there.

“But especially with where we are in the standings, every game is huge. So we’re not looking at this series as anything bigger than any other series and we’re just going to attack it and try to get every win we can.”

Thompson offered, unprompted, that the team remains unified in its effort to finish strong.

“We’re just going to try to come together as a squad and just get on a roll here and just be more well-rounded in everything we do,” he said. “Everyone does their part like we always do and pick each other up.

“We’re a really good team and we have really strong bonds in this clubhouse. Tough games like this (are) not going to break us. Never has and never will.”

These are the final regular-season games between the Rays and Orioles, with the season series 8-8. Last year, the Rays won 18-1.

Number of the day

17

Consecutive days the Rays are scheduled to play, from Friday through Aug. 28.

Miscellany

Wander Franco (broken right hamate) and Harold Ramirez (broken right thumb) may take batting practice with the Rays on Friday in advance of starting rehab assignments, eyeing late August returns. … Manuel Margot (right patellar tendon strain) went 1-for-4 and played six innings in rightfield Thursday in his second Florida Complex League rehab game, targeting an Aug. 20 return. … Reliever Nick Anderson (right elbow surgery) on Wednesday posted his fifth straight scoreless rehab outing for Triple-A Durham. JT Chargois (oblique strain) had another rough one, retiring one of seven batters. … Infielder Jonathan Aranda was named the Rays’ top minor-league hitter for July after posting a .391 average with eight doubles, four homers and 24 RBIs in 16 games for Durham. Class A Charleston (S.C.) right-hander JJ Goss was the top pitcher, going 2-1, 1.73 with 30 strikeouts in 26 innings over five starts. … The Rays are getting into the college spirit — Saturday is Chop at the Trop (FSU) and Sunday is USF Day. … Second baseman Brandon Lowe and wife Madison will host players and coaches from the West Tampa Little League before Saturday’s game as part of their Lowe’s Legends program.

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