On the final day of the 2018 MLB season (well, final for most teams as we’ll get to later) there was still a lot to play for in the world of Rays baseball. The Rays accomplished all of it.
The round numbers:
3.00 — Ryne Stanek Opened the game, notching 3 more Ks and lowered his season ERA to 2.98.
32 — Tommy Pham’s on base streak reached 32 games with the Rays, breaking a tie he had with Ben Zobrist for 5th longest in team history. He also hit his 6th 3B with the Rays (nearly matching his career total of 7 3B).
.200 — Jake Bauers has been in a tough slump in the 2nd half after starting out blazingly hot to begin his pro career. On his final game of the 2018 season, Bauers went 3-3 with a BB, including this big RBI double to move above the Mendoza line on the season (ending his year hitting .201 in BA).
40 — Mallex Smith added 2 stolen bases to push his season total to a nice round 40 SB on the year (3rd best in all of baseball). Mallex certainly Affected this season.
16 — Ryan Yarbrough, the oft used Bulk Guy following Stanek’s Opener picked up his 16th win of the year, which is now 4th most Wins by any Rays starting pitcher ever.
.300 — Joey Wendle entered the game hitting .300, but of course Wendle was not going to sit out game 162 and rest on his laurels. With his 1st inning out, Joey needed 1 hit to get back to .300, and he delivered with an RBI base hit to give the Rays their first lead of the day. Kevin Cash would eventually pull Wendle mid-inning late in the game to preserve his .300 batting average and give Joey the much deserved ovation.
90 — Last but certainly not least: The Rays got their 90th win. 90 wins is a nice, round number. It’s also a really important number in baseball. 90 wins is a great season. 90 wins usually gets you into the playoffs (the Rays will be the only 90 win team to miss out). And ending the season with a win, to say they aren’t just a “high 80s” wins club, but a 90 win ballclub going into 2019? That sounds a lot better.
Since the second Wild Card was introduced (2012), the only teams to win 90 games and miss the postseason:— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 30, 2018
▪️ us (2012)
▪️ Rangers (2013)
▪️ us again (2018) pic.twitter.com/U0l8b3GFZF
This was the first time the Rays won 90 since 2013, but the sixth in 11 seasons, since the 2008 name change. Only the Red Sox (7), Dodgers (7) and Yankees (6) have as many.
- One last time in 2018, Kevin Cash (who should get a lot of votes for the Manager of the Year award) spoke postgame:
- Steve Kinsella has a good wrap up on the final game of the Rays 2018 season. It ended much in the way the whole season went: with relentless offense and never ending bullpen arms pitching a team gem.
- Sergio Romo got the day off from pitching, but he was still put to work in a variety of odd jobs, including ball boy!
- Blake Snell had an interview mid game, that featured just a few distractions from his teammates.
- After the game, Kevin Kiermaier delivered a postgame speech to the locker room. He spoke with Marc Topkin after on what he said to the team.
Around the League
- There were 4 huge games in the NL to decide who plays in the Wild Card game and who wins the divisions. Well, for anybody without a rooting interest, TEAM CHAOS was what many baseball fans was rooting for having all 4 teams (Rockies, Dodgers, Cubs, and Brewers) win and force two game 163 tiebreaker games. And what a successful Sunday it was for Team Chaos!
- During the Rockies beatdown of the Nats, Charlie Blackmon was able to Hit for the Cycle, which was the 1st ever Cycle achieved on Game 162.
- Former Rays prospect German Marquez is getting the call for the Rockies to start against another sensational young hurler in Walker Buehler for the Dodgers.
- Khris Davis of the Oakland A’s has achieved a weird but very cool feet: he has hit for exactly .247 BA 4 straight years.
- Angels manager Mike Scioscia says he is stepping down as Angels skipper after 19 years running the show in Anaheim.
- Joe Mauer, in probably his final game, got behind home plate one last time for one last pitch for the Twins. Mauer in (again probably) his final at bat hit a real Joe Mauer special: an opposite field double. Well played, Mauer.
- The 2019 draft order is set. Something neat: the Rays will actually select 22nd instead of 21st because they finished with the same record as the playoff bound Atlanta Braves (and the tiebreaker is worse 2017 record).
- Today we are given a rare and tremendous treat: BONUS BASEBALL! Bleed Cubbie Blue has a look at the history of tiebreaker games, concluding with the most recent in 2013 which you may remember.