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Rays fall into tie with Indians for wild card spots, Rangers one back

Sep 27, 2013, 11:51 PM EDT

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Texas Rangers Getty Images

The AL wild card battle tightened up Friday, with the Rays losing in Toronto and both the Indians and Rangers gaining a game.

The current standings:

Rays: 90-70 (two in Toronto)
Indians: 90-70 (two in Minnesota)
Rangers: 89-71 (two vs. Angels)

The Rays, who had won seven straight, were undone by some sloppy defense in the third and fourth innings, when they gave up all of their runs in the 6-3 loss to the Blue Jays. Evan Longoria committed two of the team’s three errors. Jeremy Hellickson, who was picked earlier this week to make the start, was charged with thel six runs — three of them earned — in his 4 2/3 innings.

Hellickson fell to 12-10 with a 5.17 ERA for the season, and he’s nearly certain to be left out of the rotation should the Rays advance to the ALDS. David Price, Alex Cobb, Matt Moore and Chris Archer are their top four now.

The Indians jumped out to an early 7-0 lead over the Twins and held on to win 12-6. Pedro Hernandez was brutal once again for the Twins, with his ERA jumping to 6.83. He lasted six innings in just one of his 12 starts this year. The Indians got a surprisingly disappointing performance from Corey Kluber after all of the early support. He ended up allowing six runs in 5 1/3 innings, yet he got the win anyway.

Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera both had three hits for the Indians, while Carlos Santana went 2-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored.

The Rangers prevailed in another tight one against the Angels, winning 5-3. With the score tied 3-3 in the seventh, Alex Rios singled in Ian Kinsler. Rios went on to steal second and then came around to score on A.J. Pierzynski‘s grounder up the middle after Erick Aybar made a nice play to snare the ball, then pulled Mark Trumbo off the bag with his throw. Rios never stopped running on the play and beat Trumbo’s relay home.

Saturday’s action will see all three contenders playing simultaneously in the afternoon after the Angels-Rangers tilt was moved up due to the expectation of some evening storms. The Rangers will throw Derek Holland in their 11 a.m. local-time start, while the Angels will counter with Garrett Richards. Holland, coming off a shutout of the Astros, is 7-6 with a 5.81 ERA lifetime versus the Halos. He gave up eight runs in a loss in Anaheim three weeks ago.

The Indians get to face another pushover in the form of Cole De Vries. He has an 11.70 ERA in his three starts for Minnesota. The Twins lost those three games by a combined score of 41-11. The Indians will use Scott Kazmir.

The Rays-Jays game will feature a Chris Archer-J.A. Happ matchup. Archer is coming off one of his worst starts of the season, but he’s 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts against Toronto.

  1. wgray981 - Sep 28, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    Go Tribe!

  2. crackersnap - Sep 28, 2013 at 2:17 AM

    And this is where the fans of Cleveland and Tampa Bay learn first hand the frustration we LAA fans suffer under as The Great Mike Scioscia confounds all open-minded observers with his stubborn ideas about bullpen use. As if the next combo of Brendan Donnelly/Ben Weber/Scot Shields/Troy Percival is just one more outing away from snapping into place.

    One more. Any day now. It”ll happen.

  3. brianc6234 - Sep 28, 2013 at 6:03 AM

    If the Angels get swept by the Rangers Mike Scioscia better not even return to Anaheim. He should be fired after the final game anyway. So many poorly managed games this year that they should have won.

  4. proudlycanadian - Sep 28, 2013 at 6:47 AM

    Yesterday’s pitching matchup between the Jays and the Rays favored the Jays as Dickey is clearly better than Hellickson. The matchups in the next 2 games favor the Rays. Toronto has a lot of position players who are injured which should help Tampa Bay. Yesterday, only Reyes, Lawrie and DeRosa were on the opening day roster. DeRosa was playing at first base because Encarnacion is on the DL and Lind has a sore back. Kawasaki of all people, was the DL. There were rookies at second and at all 3 outfield positions. Light hitting Thole caught Dickey. The Rays should in theory be able to outhit the Jays. Toronto may get some reinforcements if Lind is able to play and Rajai Davis returns from paternity leave; however they almost lost Lawrie yesterday.

    Fausto was a bit wild yesterday when he came into the game. One of his pitches glanced off Lawrie’s shoulder, hit him in the mouth and then got the umpire. No broken teeth, but 2 cut lips. After some treatment to halt the bleeding, he stole second. No hard feelings as he was seen chatting with Longoria and Johnson after Fausto was pulled from the game. Lawrie was eventually pulled from the game after the 8th inning. He probably has some titches in his mouth.

    On paper, the Rays should win the next 2 games, but there are kids on the Toronto team such as Goins, Sierra and Gose who are trying to win roster spots for next season. The Jays are not going to roll over and give the games to Tampa Bay. It should be fun to watch.

    • indaburg - Sep 28, 2013 at 9:07 AM

      Goddamned knuckleball. I had a bad feeling about last night’s game before it started. The bad feeling has a name–Hellickson. He was actually pretty good through the first three and then, I started cursing. Sloppy defense, a dying quail, and so it goes.

      Fausto was a bit wild? And Tampa is just a bit humid. :-) He was outta control. Gomes was dealing and I questioned taking him out of the game, but Maddon seems determined to use every pitcher he has in the bullpen in every game. I hope Lawrie is okay. I saw him smiling with the blood on his lips and with his crazy reputation, the look actually suits him. It was clearly not intentional–a change-up. We also aren’t going to do anything stupid when we’re desperately fighting for a wild card spot, and there was no reason to hit the man. Not that there ever is reason to purposely hit him with a missile object, but there are some out there who insist on reinforcing some unwritten code of brotherhood and honor.

      Yesterday, I won a lottery spot to buy a Wild Card ticket. I bought it immediately. Great seats too. I really hope I get to use it.

      • proudlycanadian - Sep 28, 2013 at 9:10 AM

        Good luck.

      • indaburg - Sep 28, 2013 at 10:21 AM

        Yeah, we’ll see. It may be a case of too little, too late.

  5. 8man - Sep 28, 2013 at 8:00 AM

    What happens if all three finish with the same record?

    • proudlycanadian - Sep 28, 2013 at 8:40 AM

      If there is a 3 way tie, The Rays will play the Indians in Cleveland to settle 1 spot. The loser of that game would play Texas to settle the second spot.

  6. steveohho - Sep 28, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    I am hoping for a 3 way tie. Would be nice to see an extra playoff game!

  7. mymaria2012 - Sep 28, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    Reblogged this on Baseball is life…. and commented:
    Come on RAYS!! : )

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