The Rays were officially eliminated from the top wild card slot today after dropping another low scoring game to the Astros, this time 3-1. They got good pitching, mostly good defense, and even a few scoring opportunities. But when it mattered, they were unable to get the big hit.
It’s still up in the air who the Rays will be playing once the playoffs start, but one thing is certain: they won’t be doing it at the Trop, at least not in this round.
Let’s see how things shook out.
Corey Kluber got the start against Luis “the hokey pokey” Garcia. And things started well when Margot broke up the no hitter early, leading off with a lined single to right. But the Rays were unable to put together an inning to capitalize.
José Altuve led off the bottom of the first with a pretty bunt single to third. Jeremy Peña followed by driving one to right center that just cleared the wall into the bullpen. 2-0 Houston, and that would be all Houston needed.
Breakfast tacos were on the menu this morning. pic.twitter.com/3plj5Ya10e— Houston Astros (@astros) October 2, 2022
In the top of the second, Ji-Man Choi doubled off the Do-Happy sign in left. And if you’re looking for bright spots, Choi finding his swing again is a pretty good one. He collected two hits and a walk on the day.
Bethancourt followed with a single through the middle, scoring Choi.
Paredes grounded sharply to third, but the Rays avoided the double play by starting the runner. But despite getting the runner into scoring position, they were unable to get the tying run in, as Mastrobuoni grounded to first and Walls grounded to second.
After the first two hitters of the game, Kluber pitched well, giving up just a third inning walk to Alvarez and a fourth inning one out single to Gurriel who was erased on a double play. But with two outs in the fifth, the Astros put together another threat. Altuve roped a double to left. Peña followed by dropping down a bunt single, putting runners on the corners. Kluber managed to work out of the jam. After giving up a foul ball dinger to Alvarez, he got the big man on strikes.
Kluber was done after five. He was charged with the two runs on six hits, walking one while striking out four.
Easton McGee made his Major League debut in the sixth. After retiring the first two, he gave up his first big league hit, a single through the middle by Gurriel. And then, against Trey Mancini, McGee notched his first strikeout.
Garcia was done after six, giving up just the one run on three hits, striking out four while walking one.
Rays legend Ryne Stanek took over for the Astros. Choi greeted him with a one out single to left. One strikeout later, Paredes drew a walk. But Mastrobouni was unable to convert the chance, flying out to left.
McGee was back out there for the seventh, and was on the verge of posting another scoreless frame despite a two base throwing error changed to Aranda (that really should have been caught by Choi). But with two outs, Jeremy Peña rolled a single through the open right side, scoring McCormick.
McGee was back out there for a third inning in the eighth, and despite giving up a couple singles and several hard hit balls, worked a scoreless frame. The rookie’s line: 3 IP, 4 hits, 1 unearned run, 1 strikeout, no walks. Well done, young man.
Rafael Montero took over in the ninth to close things out, and the Rays did manage to make things interesting. Choi drew a one out walk. Bethancourt followed by singling through the hole. Then, after a Paredes strikeout (on an at bat where Montero seemed to really want to give up a homer), Mastrobounis drew a full count walk to load the bases. But Walls (stop me if you’ve heard this one) was unable to unable to convert the scoring opportunity, grounding to second to end the game.
The Rays head to Boston to finish the season with a three game set. Tyler Glasnow will face Rich Hill tomorrow at 7:10 PM.
Notes: David Peralta left the game with right hip tightness after a long at bat in the top of the first. After the game, Cash said he doesn’t anticipate it to be serious, but Peralta probably won’t be playing this last series.
Finally, this will be my last post for DRaysBay. Thank you all for reading so that I could engage in this silly little hobby of mine. Thank you to the commenters for sticking around despite the mess they made of the comments. I’ll still be around, poking my head into the comments. Heck, I might even read the articles!