Rays Inch Closer to Second Wild Card Spot

By: Daniel Satter

 (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Rays came back and defeated the Minnesota Twins 5-4. This was a key win for the Rays as the season is coming close to an end with only 35 games left. If the Rays want to play in the playoffs they need to start winning their series and take 2 out of 3 games in a series. Rays are only 2 and a half back of the second wild card spot. The race is heating up. The Rays are still fighting despite the recent struggles.

Last Night, the 2 key players offensively were Joey Butler and once again Logan Forsythe. Butler was just recently called up with Desmond Jennings heading to the 15 day dl. When Butler first came up he was a surprise and then started to cool down. He got sent down and now is back up. Also, it seems like he just needed some at bats and time off from other teams scouting his swing. Butler tonight went 2-for-4 with a big RBI. Forsythe went 2-for-4 with a solo blast that landed in the cheap seats. Forsythe has been consistent all year and has been on a recent tear at the plate. Forsythe in his last 11 games has 4 extra base hits and 10 runs. During that span he has a batting average of .302.

Next, Drew Smyly pitched tonight and is still working his way back and looked like he took a step back. His last start in Oakland was tremendous, but tonight was iffy. Smyly went 4.1 innings and gave up 4 runs with 3 being earned on 8 hits. Smyly punched out 5 Twins and walked a pair. The bullpen saved Smyly. Brandon Gomes, Alex Colome, and Brad Boxberger pitched a total of 4.2 innings and gave up no runs. The Twins only got 1 hit against the Rays pen. The pen struck out 6 batters and walked zero Twins. Boxberger earned the save as Gomes earned the win. Nice night for the bullpen and especially for Boxberger. Boxberger had been struggling entering tonight’s game, but looked great tonight. Hopefully he can stay on a steady pace and settle down, also to show the Rays why he is the closer and also why he was named to the 2015 All-Star Team.

Last, the Rays will host the Royals on a 3 game series in the Trop that starts Friday and runs through Sunday. The Royals are one of the best teams in the MLB and will give the Rays a run for their money. This would be a nice series for the Rays to win or even sweep. If that happens it could hopefully lead to a long win streak and even maybe a chance to make a run into the playoffs. Also could Blake Snell be called up for this series and help the Rays out in the bullpen?

The starting probables that will take the mound looks like this for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Friday: Erasmo Ramirez (10-4, 3.66 ERA) vs Edinson Volquez (11-7, 3.35 ERA). Ramirez will look to hold the Royals under 3 runs and give the Rays a good chance to start the series off fresh, but Volquez will look to add more confidence in himself and get his team a win so they can make a strong push with the season coming to a close. Ramirez in his last 3 starts is 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA.

 Saturday: Jake Odorizzi (6-6, 3.02 ERA) vs Kris Medlen (2-0, 3.10). This is the best match up in the series. Odorizzi will look to get his 7th win and get on a roll to help Archer in the rotation. Medlen will look to push his arm to the next limit and if Medlen gets hot, look out because Cueto and Medlen together hot at the right time is a dangerous 1-2 punch.

Sunday: Nate Karns (7-5, 3.69 ERA) vs Danny Duffy (7-6, 4.13 ERA). Karns will look to show the Royals that his curve is the real deal and that the Rays are here to make noise in the American League. Duffy will look to silence one of the top hitting lineups against lefties. That will be a real tough task for Duffy.

Overall: The Rays have a great chance to start of fresh and take 2 out of 3 from the Royals. Rays need to get 4 runs a game in this series and cannot give up more than 3 runs. The Rays also need to get the Royals starters out of the game earlier and let the Royals bullpen enter early so they can get tired in the series.

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