Major League Baseball
Preview
Tampa Bay at Texas
When: 2:05 PM ET, Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Where: Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas

The surging Tampa Bay Rays go after their third straight shutout as they attempt to complete a three-game sweep of the host Texas Rangers on Wednesday afternoon and put pressure on Oakland in the race for the final American League wild-card spot. Blake Snell became the first pitcher to reach 20 wins Tuesday and the Rays have allowed just six hits while blanking Texas in the first two games of the series.

Joey Wendle is 5-for-8 with three doubles in the series after registering four hits from the leadoff spot Tuesday during a 4-0 triumph as Tampa Bay totaled 15 hits and won for the 13th time in 16 contests. The Rays have pulled within 5 1/2 games of the second wild card and will open the series finale with reliever Diego Castillo while rookie Yohander Mendez gets the call for the Rangers. Texas, which resides in the AL West cellar, had not been shut out at home until Monday’s 3-0 loss and has left 11 on base while striking out 18 times in the series. Slugger Joey Gallo, who is three homers from reaching 40 for the second straight season, is day-to-day after missing the last two games with a toe injury.

TV: 2:05 p.m. ET, FSN (Tampa Bay), FS Southwest (Texas)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays RH Diego Castillo (3-2, 3.24 ERA) vs. Rangers LH Yohander Mendez (2-1, 3.86)

Castillo takes on the “opener” role for the ninth time this season and struck out six over three innings the last two times he has started a contest. The 24-year-old Dominican Republic native allowed one run on three hits and two walks while striking out 12 across nine innings this month and boasts a 0.98 WHIP overall. Castillo has yet to face Texas and is 1-0 with a 3.15 ERA in 16 appearances (three starts) on the road.

Mendez has been solid in his last three trips to the mound, permitting two runs on seven hits and seven walks across 15 innings combined. The 23-year-old Venezuelan came on in the second inning last Friday at San Diego, giving up three hits over five scoreless frames to earn the victory. Mendez, who has held opponents to a .221 ERA in the majors, was 0-7 with a 5.25 ERA at Triple-A Round Rock this season.

WALK-OFFS

1. Texas RHP Jose Leclerc has not given up a run in 18 straight innings over 18 appearances, dating back to late July.

2. Tampa Bay 3B Matt Duffy is 8-for-21 with four walks during a six-game hitting streak.

3. Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre, who is 0-for-7 in the series, is one homer behind Willie Stargell and Stan Musial (475) for 30th on major league baseball’s all-time list.

PREDICTION: Rays 7, Rangers 3
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Tampa Bay 84-66 W4 48-26 36-40 36-29 21-11 20-13 7-13
Texas 64-87 L3 32-45 32-42 12-20 18-15 25-41 9-11
Last Meeting
Tampa Bay Texas
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
9/18/18 TB 4 TEX 0 .385 1 .993 .133 0 .354
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Tampa Bay C. Cron .375 6 1.036
Texas I. Kiner-Falefa .389 7 .865
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Tampa Bay D. Robertson 1 3 2
Texas S. Choo 2 6 3
Pitching ERA Avg K
Tampa Bay 2.60 .304 45
Texas 3.98 .198 36
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Tampa Bay M. Smith .302 130 .786
Texas S. Choo .269 143 .829
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Tampa Bay C. Cron 27 62 64
Texas J. Gallo 37 79 87
Pitching ERA Avg K
Tampa Bay 3.60 .258 1302
Texas 4.95 .240 1053