A loss Tuesday night didn’t change the formula necessary for the Tampa Bay Rays to clinch the American League East title.
As for the New York Mets, their win over the Rays made their postseason equation a little brighter, but not nearly enough to start daydreaming about how the rest of the dominoes in the National League wild-card race might start to fall in their favor.
The Rays will take a second swing at locking up the AL East on Wednesday night when they visit the Mets in the finale of a three-game series. Tyler Glasnow (4-1, 4.21 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for Tampa Bay against Michael Wacha (1-3, 6.75) in a battle of right-handers.
The Mets maintained their flickering playoff hopes and did their part to momentarily keep the Rays from clinching the division title Tuesday night, when slumping slugger Pete Alonso homered and collected three RBIs in a 5-2 victory.
The loss for the Rays (36-20), coupled with the New York Yankees’ 12-1 rout of the Toronto Blue Jays, kept Tampa Bay’s magic number for clinching the AL East at one.
The delay didn’t seem to faze the Rays, who are trying to win the division for the third time in franchise history and the first time since 2010.
“Obviously, we wanted to do it tonight,” shortstop Willy Adames said. “We can do it tomorrow. It’s not a big deal.”
A lot will have to go the Mets’ way to make Tuesday’s win a big deal. New York (25-30) gained 1 1/2 games on Philadelphia thanks to the Washington Nationals’ sweep of the Phillies but still enter Wednesday 2 1/2 games behind the Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco Giants, who are tied for the NL’s two wild-card spots.
Mets manager Luis Rojas said the team watched the Phillies drop the opener of the doubleheader but he didn’t peek at the scoreboard atop left field to see how everyone else was faring. Nor did he expect players and staff to keep an eye on things Wednesday, when the Reds and Brewers are scheduled to begin play a half-hour before Wacha throws the first pitch.
“We were able to know that the Nationals beat the Phillies in that first game,” Rojas said. “But once we were (in) the game, we were engaged in the game. Everyone’s locked in. And then right after, now we’re finding out and we know what was happening in the league and what kind of combination is going on. But our main focus is (our) game.”
Glasnow won his fourth straight decision last Friday, when he allowed one run over five innings as the Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 2-1.
Wacha last pitched Sept. 16, when he tossed four innings of one-run relief in the Mets’ 5-4 win over the Phillies. He hasn’t started since Sept. 8, when he took the loss after giving up five runs (four earned) over four innings in an 11-2 defeat to the Baltimore Orioles.
Glasnow is 0-2 with a 7.07 ERA in five career games (two starts) against the Mets. Wacha is 0-2 with a 9.72 ERA in two starts against the Rays.
–Field Level Media