Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Drew Rasmussen delivers to the Houston Astros during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Rays Loss to Astros Risk Wild Card Race in AL East

As September rolls on, the Tampa Bay Rays continue to make a final push for the AL East crown and Wild Card spot after a 4-0 loss to the Astros Monday night. With the win, Houston dubs the AL West.

It is unlikely for them to catch the Bronx Bombers, the Rays sit 6.5 games behind the Yankees with 15 games to go. The Blue Jays are one game ahead of them, with both teams taking up the first two AL Wild Card spots ahead of the Mariners.

Wild Card Race Cuts Close

The Rays are 10-8 in the month of September, including an 8-6 record against AL East opponents. The team has become a victim of circumstance in an excellent year for the division. At one point the Yankees held first place by 15.5 games. Baltimore, the division’s fourth place team, is on the outside of an expanded Wild Card Race looking in despite a 76-70 record.

The AL Wild Card is a three-headed race. The Mariners trail the Rays by half a game for the second spot, and Seattle is only a game and a half behind the Blue Jays. The three teams will likely continue jockeying for first place for the remainder of the season, but a disastrous slide by any of the three would make room for the White Sox or Orioles to sneak into the final spot.

Mission Control

The AL West headquarters have been located in Houston five of the last six seasons. Outside of the COVID shortened 2020 season, the Astros have won their division every year since 2017. The team clinched the 2022 crown with its 4-0 win over the Rays Monday.

Jose Altuve scored two runs on two hits. The run the team scoring in the first inning was enough to seal the deal, the Astros’ three-run sixth inning put the game further out of reach.

Harold Ramirez went three for four, but no other Ray had more than one hit in the ball game.

The Rays have their work cut out for them. They will finish off the three-game series against the Astros before playing four games against the Blue Jays. A losing streak could put the first Wild Card spot out of reach.

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