Before embarking on their fourth straight postseason run, the Tampa Bay Rays will hit the road on Monday night for the opener of a three-game set against the American League East rival Boston Red Sox.
The Rays (86-73) will conclude the regular season against a team they have dominated, winning 12 of this season's first 16 head-to-head meetings with Boston.
While the Red Sox (75-84) won twice at Fenway Park in August, they have lost four straight meetings with Tampa Bay and were swept in a three-game September series.
Tyler Glasnow (0-0, 3.00 ERA) will face Boston in his second start since returning from Tommy John surgery last Wednesday against Cleveland.
"It felt normal," Glasnow said of his first outing since June 14, 2021. "I think the routine's been similar for so long that it's kind of picked up right where I left off. ... Mechanically, everything felt pretty synced up, and my quick step felt pretty good as well."
Though he was expected to be sidelined until 2023, Glasnow returned for three innings of one-run ball with three strikeouts in a 2-1, 10-inning loss to the Guardians.
If Glasnow is able to maintain that level of consistency, he could be a weapon in the playoffs after pitching two series-clinching games in 2020.
With four losses in five games, including back-to-back setbacks over the weekend in Houston, the Rays lost the chance to catch Toronto for the top wild-card position.
"We're just not firing right now," Cash said. "But I'm confident that the guys, they'll get it going. ... I don't think we're maybe our best version right now. But, we've got time to get there."
The Red Sox, meanwhile, are 3-9 in their last 12 games after being swept in Toronto. Sunday's 6-3 loss was the closest game in the series.
Bobby Dalbec hit a two-run home run in his 14th multi-hit game this season.
Fellow first baseman Eric Hosmer could make his return this week after being sidelined since Aug. 21 due to lower back inflammation.
"He's feeling well during the weekend," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "He's been doing his stuff at home at Fenway so there's a good chance he'll be activated (on Monday)."
Rich Hill (8-7, 4.41) looks to finish his 18th major league season on a high note after becoming the 21st pitcher in major leauge history to make 25 starts in a season at the age of 42 or older.
The Massachusetts native accomplished that feat after dealing six shutout innings and striking out nine in Wednesday's 3-1 win over Baltimore.
"We have a finite amount of time to play this game," Hill said. "A lot of the game is making adjustments. ... I think that's one thing that I've always done is continue to evolve and make adjustments with the game."
Hill has not allowed a run in three of his last seven starts.
Hill is 3-1 with a 3.63 ERA in 15 career appearances (six starts) against Tampa Bay. He has faced the Rays three times this season, pitching 11 shutout innings over two starts before allowing five runs in four innings on Sept. 6.
Glasnow is 2-1 with a 4.19 ERA in seven career starts against the Red Sox.
--Field Level Media