Aim for a top prize in the wild card race

The battle for the wildcard position heats up in the Sunshine State.

The AL East showdown comes a week after Toronto’s 5-3 victory over the Rays at the Rogers Center.

The Blue Jays entered the series in the American League’s top wildcard spot, two games ahead of the Rays and 2.5 ahead of the similarly struggling Seattle Mariners.

Toronto is now 6.5 games away from the New York Yankees.

But a playoff spot seems almost certain. The Baltimore Orioles, who are fourth in the race for three wild card slots, are 6.5 games behind Toronto.

Take a look at the Blue Jays-Rays series.

expected pitcher

Thursday, 6:40 PM ET/3:40 PM PT: Toronto RHP Jose Berrios (11-5, 4.99 ERA) vs. Tampa Bay RHP JP Shalgore (2-0, 2.76 ERA)

Friday, 7:10 PM ET/4:10 PM PT: Toronto TBD vs. Tampa Bay LHP Jeffrey Springs (9-4, 2.45 ERA)

Saturday, 6:10pm ET / 3:10pm PT: Toronto TBD vs. Tampa Bay RHP Drew Rasmussen (10-6, 2.92 ERA)

Sunday, 1:10 pm ET / 10:10 am PT: Toronto TBD vs. Tampa Bay LHP Shane McClanahan (12-6, 2.36 ERA)

(All games on Sportsnet)

Blue Jays Update

The Blue Jays (84-65) took a 3-0 lead in the eighth inning on Wednesday to clinch a mini-series split with the Phillies in Philadelphia after losing 4-3 in 10 innings. .

After Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. hit a three-run homer in the top of the eighth, Imi Garcia couldn’t keep things anchored in the bottom of the frame.

Garcia finished with two outs and the Phillies trailed 3-2. After Jordan Romano came in, the home side tackled another run and won in the bottom of the 10th against Adam Cimber.

The Blue Jays missed a glorious opportunity to take charge in the top of the 10th when Teoscar Hernandez lined up for an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded.


The Rays (82-67) have a tailwind after being overwhelmed by the visiting Houston Astros in this week’s three-game series.

Wednesday’s 5-2 loss followed two shutout setbacks.

Tampa went 25 scoreless innings, tied 1-1 in the sixth, and led 2-1 in the seventh.

However, Rays reliever Brooks Reilly gave up three in the eighth inning against his former team, giving Tampa another loss.

Tampa was 20-1 with runners in scoring position during the series.

It was the first time since April 2019 that the Rays have been swept in a home series of three or more games, ending the longest active streak in MLB.

Proposed plan

After Berrios on Thursday, the Blue Jays have not named a starter.

Thoughts will be Mitch White (as Bulk’s role or starter) and Alec Manoa will be the main man on Friday and Saturday in undetermined order.

Ross Stripling will go ahead with Sunday’s start.

Berrios, Manoa and Stripling all put in good pitches in last week’s game against the Rays in Toronto, but White put the Blue Jays to the final loss with a good performance in six innings.

The Chargois will be Tampa’s opener on Thursday, and Ryan Yarbrough is expected to have a ton of innings.

Rays ace McClanahan got off to an early start on Tuesday with a neck problem, but the Rays hope he does well going into Sunday’s series finale.

civil war?

A radio station in Tampa reported that Rays outfielder Randy Arrozarena and infielder Yandy Diaz got into a physical altercation in the parking lot after Monday’s loss.

On Wednesday, Arrozarena denied that fact and the two simply exchanged words “over a few little things”.

season series

The Rays are leading 8-7. That means he needs to win 4-3 for the Blue Jays to get a tiebreaker.

The season series determines who finishes higher in the standings if the teams are tied.

injury update

Blue Jays second baseman Santiago Espinal ended Wednesday’s game with a left flank discomfort.

Blue Jays outfielder Rhodes Gurriel Jr. is out with a strained left hamstring despite being eligible off the injured list.

The Rays deployed left-handed reliever Jaren Beeks (leg) to IL on Wednesday.

number of crowds

Crowds are usually light in Tampa, and that is expected to be the case on Sunday as well.

Tom Brady and the Buccaneers will host Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers for a late afternoon kickoff.

We’re guessing the Tampa sports fans might have been a little distracted that day.

playoff watch

The Mariners will try to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Oakland A’s on Thursday before starting the series against another bad team in Kansas City on Friday.

The Orioles start a four-game series against the AL-leading Astros on Thursday.

The Yankees are at home four games against the out-of-content Boston Red Sox in another AL East fight.


The Blue Jays open their final homestand of the year on Monday to begin a three-game series with Aaron Judge and the Yankees.

The Blue Jays have a very good chance of qualifying for the playoffs in Toronto next week, and it will be the first time Toronto has secured a postseason spot at home since 2015.

Aim for a top prize in the wild card race

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