Rays manager Kevin Cash: “Rest will be a focal point” during series with Blue Jays
Photo credit:© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis2 months ago
The Tampa Bay Rays are preparing for next week. There’s nothing left for them to accomplish in the regular season.
The Baltimore Orioles clinched the American League East with their 100th win earlier this week, so the Rays are locked into the top Wild Card spot. That means that they’re guaranteed to be hosting somebody in a three-game series on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of next week.
The team they host is very likely going to be the same Toronto Blue Jays that they’re playing right now. The Blue Jays won the series opener on Friday by a score of 11-4 and are now one win away from clinching a playoff spot as the second Wild Card team.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said that the team won’t actively be punting these three games but that the team is prioritizing rest and preparation ahead of their likely Wild Card series with Toronto.
“You want to be respectful of the situation, but we are going to prioritize our guys, making sure that they are as fresh and ready to go as much as possible,” Cash told Marc Topkin of The Tampa Bay Times ahead of Friday’s game. “That doesn’t change the way we play the game. We’ll play the game the right way. And we’re going to try to make decisions to win the game within the game. But rest will be a focal point for the three days.”
The Rays are apparently planning to call up some new pitchers from their Triple-A affiliate in Durham to work bulk innings over the remaining two games of the weekend. The goal for Tampa is to limit the amount of times that the Blue Jays can get looks at the pitchers that they’re planning to use against them in the playoffs.
Tampa sent out Aaron Civale as their starting pitcher but pulled him after going through the order once. After that, they tested using a couple of their back-end starters in relief roles. Zack Littell came in and recorded four outs in the third and fourth innings but allowed three runs. Taj Bradley pitched the seventh inning when the game was out of reach and allowed one run.
Tyler Glasnow is expected to start Game 1 for the Rays in the Wild Card series with veteran Zach Eflin lined up for Game 2 and Civale if a third game is needed. The Blue Jays want to have their playoff spot locked up by the end of the day on Saturday so they don’t have to use Kevin Gausman on Sunday. He’d ideally be ready to start Game 1 with Jose Berrios and Chris Bassitt ready to go in Games 2 and 3.
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