Note: With Craig out of town, we have a “Settling the Score” in place of the usual “And That Happened.” Don’t worry, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming on Tuesday.
While two teams clinched playoff spots yesterday, the American League Wild Card picture remains a crowded one. The Rangers and Rays will enter the weekend tied for the two Wild Card spots after splitting a four-game series this week. The Indians find themselves just a half-game back (one back in the loss column) following a thrilling win over the Astros in 15 innings last night. While the Orioles lost to the Red Sox last night, they are just two games back and will begin a four-game series against the Rays tonight at Tropicana Field. The Royals were idle yesterday and sit three games back. Meanwhile, the Yankees lost to the Blue Jays yesterday to fall 3 1/2 games behind and appear to be the biggest longshot of the bunch. We might not have a ton of intrigue in most of the other races, but the AL Wild Card should keep us plenty occupied over the next week and a half.
Your Thursday box scores:
Padres 1, Pirates 10
Mariners 4, Tigers 5
Giants 2, Mets 1
Astros 1, Indians 2 (11 innings)
Cubs 5, Brewers 1
Yankees 2, Blue Jays 6
Cardinals 6, Rockies 7 (15 innings)
Orioles 1, Red Sox 3
Dodgers 7, Diamondbacks 6
Rangers 8, Rays 2
Marlins 2, Nationals 3
Twins 6, Athletics 8
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wants Tampa Bay to work a little quicker on getting the Rays a new ballpark.
Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg has been working for nearly a decade to get a new stadium for the club and signed a three-year agreement with the City of St. Petersburg early in 2016 to search for a site in the Tampa Bay area. Manfred wants that search to pick up some steam.
“I think it’s fair to say we want the process to take on a better pace moving forward,” Manfred said Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays since their first season in 1998.
The Rays were averaging 15,815 fans per game before Wednesday night’s contest against the Toronto Blue Jays. That is just over half the major league average of 30,470. Tropicana Field and its location have been almost universally blamed as the reason for the poor attendance.
“I’ve been pretty clear that they need a new facility here, a major league quality facility in an A-plus location,” Manfred said. “It is time to move that decision to the front burner here in Tampa.”
The matter of how a stadium would be financed has been tabled until a site is determined, but Sternberg continued to express confidence in the Tampa Bay market.
“I’ve had the opportunity to bail on it many times over the years,” he said. “I won’t say this is a slam dunk, it’s certainly not. But I think we can do something that’ll at least double our attendance. That’s a lot to ask for.”
Manfred said Major League Baseball “doesn’t have a firm timetable” for what steps to take if the Rays fail to get an agreement to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, but but added that “it is a topic of discussion in the industry, the lack of progress.”
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
Bad news for the Mariners this evening: Robinson Cano left Seattle’s game against the Atlanta Braves with tightness in his left hamstring.
Cano walked off the field after legging out a double — his second of the game — in the third inning. He pulled up as he approached second base and walked off the field, accompanied by a trainer. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. The Mariners have a day off Thursday before opening a series at the Yankees on Friday night, so they have some time to evaluate him.
Cano is hitting .277/.377/.460 with 19 homers and 78 RBI on the year.