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Tampa Bay Rays host wild-card playoffs against Texas Rangers beginning Tuesday

Tampa Bay first baseman Yandy Díaz won the American League batting title with a .330 average t
Chris O'Meara
Tampa Bay first baseman Yandy Díaz won the American League batting title with a .330 average. He says the wild-card round against Texas will be a "good battle of offenses."

The Rays are back in the postseason for the fifth straight year. Tickets are available for the three-game series in St. Petersburg. First pitch for Game 1 is at 3:08 p.m., and ABC will telecast the games.

The Tampa Bay Rays are back in the postseason for the fifth straight year.

The Rays will open the American League wild-card playoffs against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday afternoon. The best-of-three series will be at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

Game 2 will take place Wednesday and Game 3, if necessary, on Thursday, with first pitch each day at 3:08 p.m. ABC will broadcast all the games.

“It’s taken a lot to get here,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said after Sunday’s season finale, a 12-8 victory at Toronto. “I think everybody realizes that. I’m really proud of this group. They are all special in their own way.”

Tampa Bay opened the season by winning a modern MLB-record 13 straight games in April. As the season concluded Sunday, the Rays had a 99-63 record, a 13-win improvement from last year, and featured their first AL batting champion, Yandy Diaz, with a .330 average.

“I’m happy we’re in,” Cash said. “And let’s see where we go.”

For Rays fans, that would hopefully be a World Series title. But there are several hurdles ahead, beginning with a Rangers team that can match Tampa Bay at the plate. The Rays set a team record for homers in a season with 230.

The Rays lost four of six meetings with the Rangers this season, including a three-game sweep at Texas in July. The other meetings were at Tropicana Field in June.

“Everybody knows those guys can score a lot of runs and they can hit,” Díaz said. “We’re going to have to score as many runs as we can. I think it’s going to be a good battle of the offenses.”

The starting pitchers for Tuesday are slated to be Tyler Glasnow for Tampa Bay and Jordan Montgomery for Texas. Wednesday’s probable starters are Zach Eflin for Tampa Bay and Nathan Eovaldi for Texas.

As the top wild-card team, the Rays get the advantage of playing at home, where they went 53-28, including 11 walk-off victories (in the final at-bat).

Tickets are available through the team’s website, the Major League Baseball Ballpark app or through MLB’s fan-to-fan ticket seller SeatGeek. Tickets are mobile-only; paper tickets, including print-at-home, PDFs or screenshots are not available or accepted.

The Rays will open a portion of the Trop's third level for the playoffs, adding several thousand seats to the regular capacity of 25,025.

The wild-card winner will advance to the AL Division Series against the Baltimore Orioles, who finished two games ahead of Tampa Bay to win the AL East Division. That round would begin in Baltimore on Oct. 7, giving the Orioles a five-day rest as one of MLB’s four division winners with the best records.

The Rays, who are celebrating their 25th season, come into the postseason days after finalizing a deal to build a new stadium adjacent to Tropicana Field in time for the 2028 season.

I’m the online producer for Health News Florida, a collaboration of public radio stations and NPR that delivers news about health care issues.
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