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Rays Start Preparing For ALDS With Wild Card Winner

photo: Steve Carney/St. Pete Nine

They don’t know who they’ll be facing in Game 1 of the American League Division Series yet, but for manager Kevin Cash and his team, it doesn’t matter who the opponent is, it only matters that they’re getting a couple of days of down time to prepare for the best-of-five first round to the postseason.

“We’re going to work out today, we’re going to work out [Wednesday,]” Cash said.   “And I’m guessing the guys will feel pretty fresh heading into Thursday.”

For second baseman Brandon Lowe, the feeling doesn’t change depending on the opponnt

“It’ll be exciting no matter who it is,” Lowe said Tuesday.  “Knowing that it’s the Yankees or the Red Sox, I feel that every time we’ve played these guys whether they’ve been on a rough stretch on their season, or we’ve been on a rough stretch of our season, we’ve played really good baseball against each other and that it’s going to make for a very good series.”

Cash said he doesn’t know just which 26 players will make up the Division Series roster (which does not get set until 10:00 Thursday morning), he did solidify what his starting pitching plans were for the start of the series: with left-hander Shane McClanahan earning the start for Game 1 Thursday night at Tropicana Field, and right-hander Shane Baz going Friday in Game 2.  Right-hander Drew Rasmussen would be slated to start Game 3 on the road, depending on how the bullpen looks after the two home games.

“I think Shane McClanahan has certainly earned [the Game 1 start] with his overall body of work,” the Rays manager said.  And for me personally, I think that pitching a young pitcher in a hometown environment is probably a little bit better.  Baz experienced Yankee Stadium for three innings, but [Rasmussen] has kind of been there done that a little bit more, whether it’s in Fenway Park, whether it’s in Toronto, he’s done all that, and that’s how we landed [on the decision.]”

Either way, both Cash and Lowe will be watching tonight’s Wild Card game to see just who Tampa Bay will be facing Thursday at Tropicana Field as their trek to another World Series begins with the American League Division Series.

Watch comments from Cash, Lowe, and shortstop Wander Franco below!

Written By

Steve Carney is the founder and publisher of St. Pete Nine. One of the people most associated with baseball coverage in Tampa Bay, he spent 13 seasons covering the Rays for flagship radio station WDAE, first as producer of Rays Radio broadcasts, then as beat reporter beginning in 2011. He likes new analytics and aged bourbon, and is the owner of one of the ugliest knuckleballs ever witnessed by baseball scouts.

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