The Tampa Bay Rays limp back home after a nine-game road trip to Boston, Detroit, and Toronto. The Rays finished with a 4-5 record on the road trip. They will begin their final homestand of the season Thursday night against the Detroit Tigers.
The Rays ended the road trip dropping two of three to the Toronto Blue Jays, a team that looks as if it will certainly get one of the two wildcard spots.
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If this series had been played earlier in the season, no one would give it much thought with the Rays dropping two of three. But because it is September, and teams are playing hard to get a playoff spot, everything is put under a microscope to analyze.
I’ve seen many Twitter trolls now doubting whether the Rays will even make the playoffs, let alone win the division. These trolls should have their keyboards taken away. The Rays have an EIGHT-GAME lead in the division with 16 games to play.
It would take a collapse of biblical proportions by this Rays team to miss out on the playoffs.
Are there some concerns with this team? Indeed, there are, primarily on the pitching staff.
As well as Shane McClanahan has pitched this season, you cannot say with 100 percent certainty that he is the guy you would send to the mound in a game seven trying to win a series. The Rays have no one pitcher on their roster this season that has that resume, and that in itself could be a challenge.
Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow, and Charlie Morton were the Rays big three last year. This year there is not that one guy that you could call an ace on this staff.
Michael Wacha proved again yesterday that his last three starts were just a mirage. Fools gold, if you will. Wacha gave up six runs and seven hits through six innings in Toronto Wednesday afternoon as the Rays lost the series finale 6-3.
But it wasn’t just the pitching in this series. The offense went to sleep against a top-notch opponent. The Rays have the second highest-scoring offense in the American League but could only generate two runs in 22 innings against the Blue Jays rotation.
The Rays also struck out 27 times in this series. Does the Rays offense miss Wander Franco this much? It does make you wonder.
As the Rays begin their final homestand, they are looking to fill Tropicana Field with special ticket prices and concession prices.
In sections 129-149, you can get $10 tickets. The Rays will also have specials on other concession foods and beverages. $5 beers, $4 soda, and $5 popcorn, as well as other specials, will be available to purchase. These prices will also be available for all ten games of the homestand.
The Tigers have dramatically improved throughout the season and took two of three from the Rays last weekend in Detroit.
Dietrich Enns is the starter for the Rays tonight. He should be able to pitch into at least the fifth inning. It has been four years since Enns started a game, and he is looking forward to the challenge.
He threw four shutout innings against the Tigers last weekend in Detroit. Enns started at Durham most of the season, so he is used to a heavier workload.
The Rays have not announced their starters for the Friday and Sunday games. Luis Patino will start for the Rays on Saturday.