ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The wild card chase is such that the standings change every day. There is no doubting the importance of each game as the regular season dwindles down.
The Rays head into Wednesday night’s game in Toronto tied with Seattle for second in the American League wild card standings, one-half game behind the Blue Jays. Baltimore, on the outside looking in, is five games behind the Rays and Mariners.
The Rays hold a tiebreaker over Seattle as a result of taking five of six in the season series. They are 7-6 against Toronto with six games remaining in the season series.
After the Rays’ five-game series in Toronto, which concludes Thursday afternoon, they return to the Tropicana Field for a 10-game homestand that will complete the home portion of the 2022 schedule.
It gets underway Friday night for the first of three games in a weekend series against the Rangers. Houston is at the Trop for a three-game series beginning Monday night. Then, the Blue Jays arrive for what is sure to be a critical four-game series.
More Zeroes: Yonny Chirinos started the nightcap of Tuesday’s doubleheader in Toronto and threw four shutout innings before exiting after hitting Matt Chapman with a pitch to lead off the fifth. It was the righthander’s second outing after missing two years due to Tommy John surgery and ensuing setbacks. He had a feel-good evening when he took over for Jeffrey Springs last Wednesday against the Red Sox and threw three shutout innings in his return.
This & That: Springs (8-4, 2.41 ERA) threw six shutout innings in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader to run his scoreless streak to 16 2/3 over the course of four outings…..Ji-Man Choi’s third-inning homer off Alek Manoah on Tuesday night was his first since August 26 at Boston and only his third since the all-star break……Wander Franco is 6-for-20 since returning to the lineup after missing two months with a fractured hamate bone in his right hand…..Taylor Walls went 0-for-5 in Tuesday’s twin bill and is hitting .106 (21-for-198) on the road this season….Kevin Herget finally made his MLB debut (1 2/3 IP, 2 ER) Tuesday night. He spent three days with the Rays in August and did not make an appearance. The 31-year-old, who was a 39th-round selection of the Cardinals in 2013, was summoned from Durham on Monday….Brandon Lowe returned to the IL with lower back discomfort.
Lowe’s honor: It was announced last week that Brandon Lowe is the Rays’ nominee for the 2022 Roberto Clemente Award. Each MLB team nominates a player to be considered for the award, which recognizes the player “who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.”
Lowe founded “Home Runs for Hope” in support of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay in 2019. Since then, every home run he hits results in a $100 donation from both the second baseman and the Rays Foundation. More than $15,000 has been raised.
Lowe, who lost an uncle to suicide, wanted to launch a platform that contributed to raising awareness of mental health.
Also in 2019, Lowe and his wife, Madison, founded Lowe’s Legends. The program provides financial support to youth baseball and softball teams in the Tampa Bay region.
The Rays will celebrate Roberto Clemente Day on Friday night.
Discounts: The final homestand of 2022 is a 10-gamer against Texas (3), Houston (3) and Toronto (4). It gets underway Friday night and the Rays are offering tickets for as little as $9 to each to each of the games.
The Team’s Push for the Playoffs promotion also features discounts on parking and concessions. Parking will be slashed 40 percent with some lots as little as $12. With the MLB Ballpark app, fans can order select concession items at discounted prices.