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Rays’ Drew Rasmussen faces ready-to-party Astros

As Tampa Bay seeks to further its hold on a wild-card spot, Houston is on the verge of clinching the AL West.
Drew Rasmussen will be on the mound tonight hoping to deny the Astros a shot at clinching the AL West outright.
Drew Rasmussen will be on the mound tonight hoping to deny the Astros a shot at clinching the AL West outright. [ FRANK GUNN | AP ]
Published Sep. 19|Updated Sep. 19

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays get their first look tonight at the American League-best Astros — yes, on Sept. 19 — and are hoping to keep them from having too much fun.

The Astros enter play 96-51 and with a magic number of one to clinch the AL West division title and plan to celebrate if they get the win, or the Mariners loss, they need. On Friday, the Astros clinched a playoff berth and acknowledged their accomplishments with a toast.

Drew Rasmussen will be on the mound for the Rays, seeking to bounce back from his rough four-inning outing on Wednesday in Toronto when he allowed four runs, his most since June 10, and snapping a streak of seven straight with two or fewer runs.

The Astros are starting right-hander Luis Garcia, who is making his first appearance at the Trop.

Also:

* Randy Arozarena is back in the Rays lineup after feeling “under the weather” the past two days, per manager Kevin Cash.

* Cash said reports on Glasnow’s Sunday rehab outing for Triple-A Durham were again very good, and he is slated to make another start for the Bulls on Friday. How that goes and feels after may determine if he makes another for Bulls or is ready to return to majors.

* Bally Sports play-by-play broadcaster Dewayne Staats will throw out the ceremonial first pitch tonight in honor of his 7,000th career game.

* Astros manager Dusty Baker had kind words to say about outfielder Jose Siri, who the Rays got from Houston at the trade deadline.

* The Astros have several familiar faces: reliever Ryne Stanek, who is an ex-Ray; pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. and outfielder Kyle Tucker, who are Tampa products; and broadcasters Todd Kalas, who used to do Rays TV, and Geoff Blum, a former Rays infielder.

Here is the Rays lineup:

And for the Astros:

• • •

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