MLB Baseball

Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Tampa Bay1 0 0 0 2 3 0 1 0 7100
Houston1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 371
  W: D. Rasmussen (11-7)   L: F. Valdez (16-6)
5:10 PM PT6:10 PM MT7:10 PM CT8:10 PM ET20:10 ET0:10 GMT8:10 5:10 PM MST7:10 PM EST7:40 PM VEN4:10 UAE (+1)6:10 PM CT, September 30, 2022
Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas  Attendance: 37,349

Rays seek playoff clincher in opener at Houston

According to STATS
According to STATS

Tampa Bay Rays at Houston Astros

  1. Earlier this month, the Astros swept the Rays in a three-game set in the lone series between the teams so far in 2022. It was Houston's first sweep of Tampa Bay since doing so in the first-ever series in the matchup when the Astros took all three games in June of 2003.
  2. This season, 21 different Rays' pitchers have earned at least one win as a reliever. They are the first team in MLB history to have 20 or more relief pitchers with one or more victories in a single season.
  3. Randy Arozarena has 41 doubles this season to go with his 32 stolen bases. He is the first Rays player ever with a season of 40+ doubles and 30+ stolen bases.
  4. Houston's 102 wins this season give the Astros at least 100 wins for the fourth time over their last five seasons (excluding the 60-game season of 2020). Prior to that, the Astros had a single 100-win season (1998) from the franchise's founding in 1962 through 2016.
  5. Yordan Alvarez has hit 98 home runs in his 362 career games for the Astros. The fastest player to 100 home runs in Astros history is Lance Berkman, who took 452 games to reach the milestone.
  6. Houston's bullpen has a combined record of 22-17 with 50 saves and an opposing batting average of .211. The only AL team since 1969 (when saves were recognized by MLB) to have its relief pitchers have so many wins and saves with such a low opposing average was the 2001 Mariners.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 9/30/2022 thru 10/2/2022
(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

The Houston Astros will try again Friday to wrap up the best record in the American League.

The Tampa Bay Rays, who open a three-game series at Houston on Friday, will make another attempt at clinching a playoff berth.

The Astros were off on Thursday after wasting an exceptional performance from ace right-hander Justin Verlander in a 5-2, 10-inning loss to the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday.

With six games remaining on their schedule, the Astros (102-54) hold a 5 1/2-game lead over the New York Yankees (96-59) and need of just one victory to secure home-field advantage throughout the AL postseason.

Earning that designation seems inevitable at this stage, but the loss to Arizona delayed the Astros' gratification for at least 48 additional hours.

"We had some opportunities to get that magic number (reduced to zero)," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. "I guess we'll just have to do it against Tampa Bay."

The Rays (85-71) squandered an opportunity to clinch something significant when they allowed two runs in the eighth inning of their 2-1 loss to the host Cleveland Guardians on Thursday.

Instead of wrapping up their fourth consecutive postseason berth, the Rays fell to 3-7 in their past 10 games and 7-13 since closing to within 3 1/2 games of the Yankees in the AL East on Sept. 9.

The latest defeat also saw the Rays fall a half-game behind the Seattle Mariners (85-70) for the second of three AL wild cards. Tampa Bay is five games up on Baltimore (80-76) with six to play, and the Rays own the tiebreaker against the Orioles.

"There's disappointment anytime we lose," Rays manager Kevin Cash said of failing to clinch a postseason bid. "The disappointment was we were up 1-0 in the eighth inning and we lost."

Framber Valdez (16-5, 2.69 ERA) will start the series opener for the Astros on Friday. He set a major league single-season record by making 25 consecutive quality starts, but that streak was snapped in his latest outing.

The left-hander allowed seven runs (four earned) on 11 hits and one walk with six strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings during the Astros' 11-10 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday. Valdez yielded season highs in hits and runs while logging fewer than six innings for just the third time in 2022.

Valdez is set to make his first career appearance against the Rays.

Drew Rasmussen (10-7, 2.85 ERA) is the scheduled starter for the Rays on Friday. The right-hander took his third consecutive loss on Saturday when he allowed one run on three hits and two walks with five strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings in a 3-1 setback to the Toronto Blue Jays.

During his skid, Rasmussen has recorded a 4.96 ERA and a .691 opponents' OPS. He was 4-0 with a 1.31 ERA over the six starts preceding his losing streak.

Rasmussen is 1-1 with a 3.27 ERA over two career starts against the Astros. He faced them in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Sept. 19, and he took the loss after allowing four runs on six hits and one walk with three strikeouts over six innings.

He twirled five scoreless innings in Houston on Sept. 29, 2021, recording a 7-0 victory.

--Field Level Media

Updated September 30, 2022

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