The Rays entered this afternoon’s contest against the Twins having completed back-to-back shutouts. Starter Chris Archer shut them out over six innings on Friday while Matt Moore went three innings in a rain-soaked affair last night. The last time a Rays pitcher had allowed a run was in the sixth inning on Thursday against the Red Sox, when Stephen Drew doubled against Jamey Wright.
The great pitching continued for six innings today before starter David Price faltered, bringing the streak to 27 consecutive scoreless innings. The Rays went ahead 3-0 on a Wil Myers two-run home run in the fourth and a Sean Rodriguez solo shot in the fifth. Price took the hill in the seventh, but he loaded the bases with one out, prompting manager Joe Maddon to call upon Jake McGee. McGee surrendered a two-run single to Chris Parmelee, then recorded consecutive strikeouts to end the inning.
The Rays added an insurance run in the top of the eighth on a James Loney RBI single. Joel Peralta, making his American League-leading 73rd appearance of the season, got two quick outs in the bottom of the eighth and appeared to be on his way to an easy inning. Ryan Doumit slugged a solo home run to right-center to bring the Twins within a run. Peralta allowed a single to Trevor Plouffe and a walk to Josh Willingham before Josmil Pinto drove a three-run homer to left-center, putting the Twins up 6-4. It proved to be the game-winner as closer Glen Perkins tossed a perfect ninth for his 35th save of the season.
Entering the afternoon, the Rays were tied with the Rangers at 81-66 for the two Wild Card spots. The Indians, clearly visible in the rear-view mirror, were just a game and a half behind. As the Rangers lost, the Rays will be no worse than a game in front for the second Wild Card as the rest of today’s action unfolds.
It was assumed already, but Mike Scioscia made it official during Monday’s press conference for new general manager Billy Eppler that he will return as Angels manager in 2016.
Scioscia, the longest-tenured manager in the majors, has been at the helm with the Angels since 2000. There was a clause in his contract which allowed him to opt out after the 2015 season, but he has decided to stay put. He still has three years and $15 million on his contract, which runs through 2018.
Jerry Dipoto resigned as Angels general manager in July amid tension with Scioscia, so there were naturally questions today about what to expect with first-time GM Eppler in the fold. According to David Adler of MLB.com, Scioscia isn’t concerned.
“I think we’re going to mesh very well,” Scioscia said. “If we adjust, or maybe he adjusts to some of the things, there’s going to be collaboration that’s going to make us better.”
Eppler is the fourth general manager during Scioscia’s tenure with the team.
After winning the AL West last season, the Angels finished 85-77 this season and narrowly missed the playoffs. The team hasn’t won a postseason game since 2009.
Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez sat out the final series of the regular season in order to rest a strained left intercostal muscle, but there was good news coming out of a workout today in advance of Tuesday’s Wild Card game vs. the Yankees.
This has been a lingering issue for Gomez, who missed 13 straight games with the injury last month. He aggravated the strain on a throw to home plate last Wednesday and was forced to sit while the Astros fought to keep their season alive. Astros manager A.J. Hinch told reporters last week that Gomez’s injury would typically take 45-50 days to recover from, so it’s fair to wonder how productive he can be during the postseason.
Gomez mostly struggled after coming over from the Brewers at the trade deadline, batting .242 with four home runs and a .670 OPS over 41 games.