Rays have decisions to make for playoffs

by Gary Shelton on September 27, 2021

in general

Cash has some decisions to make./JEFFREY S. KING

Monday, 3 a.m.

First come the victories. After that, come the decisions.

The Tampa Bay Rays' matched a franchise record Sunday with their 97th victory of the year (with six games to go). They've wrapped up a playoff spot and the AL East championship.

But for a team that used 61 players on its roster this year, the question remains. Just how young will the Rays be going the post-season?

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the GarySheltonSports.com blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on GarySheltonSports.com.

How about Shane Baz, the rookie who threw his second impressive start Sunday in a 3-2 victory over Miami? Has he done enough to make the post-season?

Naturally, Shane McClanahan should have a slot. He led the team in wins this year. And Wander Franco is guaranteed. He had a double and a triple to extend his on-base streak to 41 games, only two shy of Hall of Famer Frank Robinson.

Of course, the Rays have other decisions to make, too. Nick Anderson became the 14th pitcher on the Rays to earn a save Sunday, but is he healthy enough to make the post-season roster? How about Ryan Yarbrough, who has been hit-or-miss down the stretch?

Those are the decisions that will have to made over the next week.

Baz certainly seems to qualify. He threw 5 2/3 innings of shutout baseball.

"He filled the strike zone," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "It felt like he got better as the game went on. He maintained his velocity. I'm thrilled with the way he has looked in his two starts for us. I don’t know how much more he can do.

"I thought the impressive part was when he fell behind, he got back in the count. He didn’t fall behind in Toronto. He was able to make a big pitch and get back."

Baz said he wasn't thinking about whether he would be on the post-season roster or not, saying it was up to others to make the decision.

"It felt good," Baz said of his game. "I gave us a chance to win; that's all I’m trying to do."

The Rays have today off, then travel to Houston for an 8:10 p.m. game on Tuesday. Michael Wacha will start for the Rays. The Astros have not announced their starter.

Previous post:

Next post: