Those are their last two postseason appearances. They also lost division series in 2012 and 2013; their last postseason series win was in a division series against the Twins in 2006.
The Rays are in the postseason for the first time since a division series loss to the Red Sox in 2013, when Joe Maddon was still their manager. They have, in fact, won just two postseason series in their history, both in 2008 under Maddon: A division series win over the White Sox and an ALCS win over the Red Sox. (Beyond Maddon, there were a lot of Cubs-connected names on that 2008 Rays roster: Matt Garza, Edwin Jackson, Dioner Navarro, Carlos Pena and Ben Zobrist.)
So neither of these teams has had much postseason success recently. The winner of this game will face the Astros in a division series.
Also of interest:
Sean Manaea, LHP vs. Charlie Morton, RHP
Sean Manaea missed almost this entire season after shoulder surgery. He returned and made five starts in September and was very good: 1.21 ERA, 0.775 WHIP. (Only one of those five starts was against a winning team, so take those numbers for what they’re worth.)
Only two current Rays (Guillermo Heredia and Mike Zunino) have more than a handful of career PA against Manaea. The advantage could be to the pitcher here, especially at home.
It is amazing to me how Charlie Morton reinvented himself over the last three seasons.
Through 2016: 162 games, 46-71, 4.54 ERA, 1.441 WHIP, 6.3 strikeouts per nine innings
2017-19: 88 games, 45-16, 3.24 ERA, 1.141 WHIP, 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings
I’m not quite sure how he did that, but kudos to him.
Morton is the only Rays starter who is a conventional starting pitcher. The Rays use openers for pretty much every other start. That should tell you about their approach to this game; if they win it, look for openers to go in the division series.
Morton allowed one run in 6⅓ innings vs. the A’s June 20 in Oakland, though the Rays bullpen blew a three-run ninth-inning lead in that game. The Rays, of course, hope that doesn’t happen again tonight.
Today’s game is on ESPN. Announcers: Matt Vasgersian, Jessica Mendoza and Alex Rodriguez.
This game will also be on ESPN2 with Jason Benetti, Eduardo Perez and MLB Statcast analyst Mike Petriello delivering analytics-based commentary driven by on-screen graphics, data and information provided by Statcast.
This will be the only thread for tonight’s game. Enjoy, and discuss amongst yourselves.
Who will win the A.L. Wild Card Game?
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If you are watching this game, which broadcast will you watch?
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Regular ESPN broadcast with Matt Vasgersian, Jessica Mendoza and Alex Rodriguez
Statcast broadcast on ESPN2 with Jason Benetti, Eduardo Perez and Mike Petriello