The casual fan's guide to the Tampa Bay Rays playoffs
If you haven't paid a stitch of attention to baseball this season, now's the time to pop open some Cracker Jack and tune in. And we're here to help!
Leading off: The Tampa Bay Rays enter the Major League Baseball playoffs as the American League's No. 6 seed and will face the Cleveland Guardians at 12:07pm today in a best-of-three Wild Card series.
Context: The Rays ended the 162 game regular season Wednesday with 86 wins, which landed them 3rd in the AL East behind the Yankees (99-63) and Blue Jays (92-70).
The big picture: The five teams in the AL East went a combined 438-372 this season and flirted with sending four teams to the playoffs.
- The last-place Red Sox would have finished third in two other divisions.
🏟 Between the lines: Many fans who had high expectations for the team's young stars, like Wander Franco, found this to be a disappointing regular season dotted by lackluster performances.
Yes, but: The team played well enough to earn its fourth straight trip to the postseason, and everything resets when the playoffs start.
- The Atlanta Braves won the 2021 World Series after finishing the regular season with just 88 wins.
The Cleveland Guardians? After years of fans calling for Cleveland to drop the Indians moniker, the team revealed the new name on July 23, 2021.
Details: Rays star pitcher Shane McClanahan, who has been troubled this season by a shoulder issue and then neck tightness, takes on American League Cy Young winner Shane Bieber.
- The Rays, who have favorable odds, are 2-4 against the Guardians (91-70) this season.
- The winner will face the Yankees starting Tuesday.
Of note: Lefty reliever Colin Poche strained his right oblique in the team’s last game and is done for the year.
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