The Tampa Bay Rays appeared headed toward a postseason spot this weekend, but losing the first two meetings of a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays has their playoff fate in a cloud.
The Rays hope to stay alive for the postseason and salvage the finale of this series Sunday at Rogers Centre, where they dropped a 7-2 decision Saturday. Chris Archer lasted 2 1/3 innings in the no-decision, charged with a run and five hits, and Alex Torres suffered the loss in relief.
Wil Myers was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Ben Zobrist added two hits for the Rays, who have lost two in a row since a seven-game winning streak and are tied with the Texas Rangers for the second wild card spot in the American League. The Rays entered this series up north with a magic number of two.
"We've been here before. We've been in these moments. We never do things seemingly easily. So let's just play tomorrow and see what happens," said Rays manager Joe Maddon.
The Cleveland Indians lead the AL wild card and will host the Rays on Monday if there is a three-way tie. The loser of that game will head to Arlington for a showdown with the Rangers on Tuesday to determine who would oppose Monday's winner in Wednesday's AL wild card game.
Should the Rangers and Indians lose on Sunday and the Rays prevail to force a tie with the Tribe, a tiebreaker would not be necessary and Tampa Bay would host Cleveland at Tropicana Field. If there is a two-team tie for one wild card spot, the tiebreaker game would be played on Monday and hosted by the club that won the season series between the two teams.
Rays starter Matt Moore was able to rebound from a rare loss his last time out and looks to stay sharp in the finale against the Blue Jays.
Moore was 0-1 in three starts following an eight-game unbeaten streak (7-0) and defeated the New York Yankees on the road with Tuesday's 7-0 drubbing in the Bronx. Moore kept the hosts off the scoreboard with five shutout innings and worked around six walks to improve to 16-4 in 26 starts to go along with a 3.23 earned run average.
The left-handed Moore has dominated on the road to the tune of a 9-1 mark in 15 starts and is 3-1 with a 2.97 ERA in six career starts against the Blue Jays. Moore has won both of his starts in this series this season.
Todd Redmond will start opposite of Moore for Toronto and is 4-2 with a 3.77 ERA in 16 games (13 starts) this season. Redmond is unbeaten in his last five outings (3-0) and did not figure into the decision of a 3-2 win at Baltimore on Tuesday, when he gave up two runs in 5 2/3 innings.
Redmond, a right-hander, did not record a decision in his only start against Tampa Bay on Aug. 18 at Tropicana Field and hurled six innings of one-run ball in a 2-1 loss.
Toronto looks to play spoiler once again and got a pair of two-run homers from Ryan Goins and Kevin Pillar in the fifth inning. Adam Lind had two hits and three RBI, including a two-run single in the fourth inning, for the Jays, winners in three of their last five games.
"We haven't been winning a lot of games necessarily, but we've been playing some good games. It's a good way to finish it, we'd like to come back and get one more win tomorrow, and that's what it's all about," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons.
The Jays have outscored the Rays 13-5 in this series and starter J.A. Happ tossed 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball for the win on Saturday.
Tampa Bay is 10-8 against Toronto this season.