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Tampa Bay Rays roster and schedule for 2020 season

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The 2020 MLB season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. First up: The Tampa Bay Rays roster and schedule:

Rays ROSTER (projected) 

When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.

In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Rays roster to begin the season:

Catchers

Mike Zunino
Michael Perez

Infielders:

Ji-Man Choi
Brandon Lowe
Willy Adames
Yandy Diaz
Nate Lowe
Joey Wendle
Daniel Robertson

Outfielders

Austin Meadows
Hunter Renfroe
Kevin Kiermaier
Yoshitomo Tsutsugo
Jose Martinez
Randy Arozarena
Manuel Margot

Starters

Charlie Morton
Blake Snell
Tyler Glasnow
Yonny Chirinos
Ryan Yarbrough

Relievers

Brendan McKay
Trevor Richards
Nick Anderson
Diego Castillo
Jose Alvarado
Chaz Roe
Colin Poche
Oliver Drake
Peter Fairbanks
Andrew Kittredge
Jalen Beeks


BREAKDOWN:

Most of those positions — especially the pitching staff beyond, oh, the first three starters — are sort of flexible. I mean, I have 32 guys on there right now and there will only be 30 next week, and fewer after that. But the Rays have a lot of outfielders who can play a corner or who will DH and they have completely revolutionized pitcher utilization in the past couple of years. They bullpen to beat the band and will likely bullpen even harder in this short and strange season. Expect all of these names to make tons of appearances and a lot of names not listed here to shuffle in and out of the team’s larger roster and taxi squad at various times.

Which has certainly worked for them in the past. The depth and flexibility of their roster is a big reason the Rays are coming off consecutive 90+ win seasons and a postseason run last year that had them take the Houston Astros to five games in the ALDS. With the maturation of the young talent, the front office and manager Kevin Cash’s deft deployment of their talent, and a sprint of a season in which every inch taken is more important than ever, the Rays are a pretty popular pick to do well and to go far. If the Yankees’ health falters again — and if their luck in covering for all of those injuries isn’t as good as it was in 2019 — the Rays will be poised to take the AL East crown from them. Heck, it may not even take Yankees injuries. The Rays are simply good and could just power past the Bombers, even if they’re at relatively full strength.

RAYS SCHEDULE:

Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.

Rays home stands will be July 24-28 (Blue Jays, Braves), August 4-9 (Red Sox, Yankees), August 21-27 (Blue Jays, Orioles), September 4-6 (Marlins), September 10-16 (Red Sox, Nationals), and September 25-27 (Phillies).

The entire Rays roster and schedule can be seen here.

Cardinals beat Brewers, both clinch postseason berths

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. LOUIS — Harrison Bader tripled and homered to help the St. Louis Cardinals clinch a postseason berth on the final day of the regular season with a 5-2 win over Milwaukee, and the Brewers also earned a playoff spot Sunday via help on the West Coast moments later.

St. Louis (30-28) will be the fifth seed in the NL and open a three-game wild-card series at San Diego on Wednesday. By winning, the Cardinals avoided having to travel to Detroit for two makeup games Monday. St. Louis finished the regular season with 23 games in 18 days as it made up a slew of postponements caused by a coronavirus outbreak in the clubhouse.

“You had to throw some of the expectations out the window not knowing what to expect after taking those couple weeks off and all those doubleheaders and so many new guys,” Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said. “It was very different, very fulfilling to make the playoffs.”

The Brewers (29-31) locked up the eighth seed and a third consecutive postseason berth after the Padres beat San Francisco 5-4 in a game that ended about 15 minutes after St. Louis’ victory. The Giants finished with an identical record as the Brewers but lost out on a tiebreaker due to an inferior intradivision record.

“It’s fitting for 2020 and everything we went through,” Brewers left fielder Christian Yelich said. “It felt just as good as past years. This year’s a unique one. There’s so many challenges we had to go through on a daily basis behind the scenes, things you don’t deal with in a normal year.”

Milwaukee will face the top-seeded Dodgers in Los Angeles in a three-game series that also starts Wednesday.

The Brewers haven’t had a winning record at any point this season. Milwaukee and Houston will be the first teams ever to qualify for the playoffs with a losing mark.

“It’s a celebration,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We’re in the playoffs. That’s how you see it. There’s no reason to apologize for getting into the playoffs.”

Cardinals starter Austin Gomber allowed one run, one hit and two walks and struck out three over four innings.

Giovanny Gallegos (2-0), Genesis Cabrera and Alex Reyes combined to pitch the final five innings. Reyes got his first save.

“We’d have been happy getting in as the eight seed,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “We’d have been happy being the one seed, but people can say we got in if there was no expanded playoffs so that’s even another feather in this group’s cap.”

Brett Anderson (4-4) surrendered a triple to Bader and a walk to Tyler O'Neill to start the third inning before departing with a blister on his left index finger. Anderson opened the season on the injured list with a blister on the same finger and did not make his debut until Aug. 3.

Freddy Peralta replaced him a day after being activated from the paternity list, and O’Neill promptly stole second. Kolten Wong then hit a line drive off Peralta’s leg that Peralta threw into right field to score Bader and O’Neill.

Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong each added RBI singles to push the St. Louis lead to 4-0.

After Milwaukee scored in the top of the fifth, Bader hit his fifth home run of the season.

“That was a big counterpunch,” Shildt said of Bader. “Got them on their heels again.”

THREE TIMES THE FUN

Yadier Molina grounded into a triple play in the eighth inning when he hit a one hop grounder to Jace Peterson at third base in the eighth inning. It was Milwaukee’s first triple play since Sept. 23, 2016, when Cincinnati’s Joey Votto lined out to first base. Molina was also the last Cardinals player to hit into a triple play when he grounded out to third base at Boston on Aug. 15, 2017.

TRAINING ROOM

Brewers: Counsell said it was too early to prognosticate Anderson’s status after departing with the blister.

Cardinals: St. Louis president of baseball operations John Mozeliak announced that RHP Dakota Hudson will have Tommy John surgery on his right elbow Monday. Hudson went 3-2 with a 2.77 ERA in eight starts before leaving his start on Sept. 17 at Pittsburgh with right elbow discomfort after two innings.

UP NEXT

Brewers: The Brewers head to Los Angeles and will likely be without two of their top starters in Anderson and Corbin Burnes, who sustained a left oblique injury on Thursday.

Cardinals: This will be the fourth postseason series between St. Louis and San Diego, who faced each other in 1996, 2005, and 2006 in the Division Series.