The Tampa Bay Rays are clinging to a wild card spot in the American League. They'll try pad their lead on Friday when they open a three- game series against the woeful Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Tampa leads the New York Yankees by just one game for the AL's second wild card. The Rays haven't helped themselves any lately, as they enter this series having lost five of their last seven.
Tampa salvaged the finale of its three-game set with the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, as rookie Wil Myers stroked a go-ahead RBI double in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Rays to a 4-3 triumph.
"With the wild-card getting tight, we needed a win here," Myers said.
Getting the call for the Rays on Friday will be another neophyte, righty Chris Archer, who has lost his last two starts. Archer hasn't gotten past the fourth inning in either of his last two outings and on Saturday in Seattle surrendered three runs (2 earned) and four hits over four innings. He is 8-7 on the year with a 3.19 ERA.
"You have to remember, this is a young man who is pitching deeper into the year than he has ever pitched and in more meaningful moments," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I want to watch him. That's all. He could be in tune the entire game and go seven or eight, but I just have to be mindful of a bunch of things. It's a different moment for him."
Archer tossed six scoreless innings to beat the Twins the only other time he faced them.
Minnesota, meanwhile, will counter with veteran Kevin Correia, who is 9-11 with a 4.30 ERA. Correia lost for the third time in four decisions on Saturday, as Toronto reached him for five runs in six innings.
"They jumped on pitches early," Correia said. "It was pretty quick. Usually, I can make adjustments, but they just caught me. There were a handful of guys I hadn't faced, and so it was kind of a guessing game early. They jumped on a few pitches and took advantage in the first."
Correia has faced the Rays twice and has pitched to a 4.22 ERA against them without earning a decision.
Minnesota, which has lost six of eight overall, has lost all four games it has played with the Rays this season. In fact, Tampa is 21-7 in the series since the start of the 2010 campaign.