2020 American League Wild Card Series 1
|2020 American League Wild Card Series|
|Tampa Bay Rays
40 - 20 in the AL
|2 - 0
|Toronto Blue Jays|
32 - 28 in the AL
|1||Toronto Blue Jays 1 Tampa Bay Rays 3||September 29||Matt Shoemaker (0-0) Blake Snell (1-0)||5:00 pm|
|2||Toronto Blue Jays 2 Tampa Bay Rays 8||September 30||Hyun-Jin Ryu (0-1) Tyler Glasnow (1-0)||4:00 pm|
Game 1 @ Tropicana Field
|WP: Blake Snell (1-0); LP: Robbie Ray (0-1); SV: Pete Fairbanks (1)|
|Home Runs: Manuel Margot (1)|
- Attendance: none
The Rays won Game 1 thanks to an excellent performance by starter Blake Snell, who pitched very much like the former Cy Young Award winner he was, backed by some solid bullpen work and a couple of timely extra-base hits. For the Blue Jays, manager Charlie Montoyo rolled the dice, deciding not to start ace Hyun-Jin Ryu and instead relying on the combination of journeyman righthander Matt Shoemaker piggy-backed with hard-throwing lefty Robbie Ray. The move almost paid off, as the two pitchers combined to limit the Rays to one run over six innings, but given the inability of the Jays' batters to get to Snell, it wasn't good enough.
The Blue Jays had stacked their line-up with righthanded batters, including 21-year-old catcher Alejandro Kirk at DH, against the lefty Snell, but it did not bother him as he allowed only one hit over 5 2/3 innings, walking two and striking out 9. Ironically, it was Kirk who got the only hit, a single up the middle in the 3rd, but he did not advance past first base. Meanwhile, Shoemaker needed only 35 pitches to get through the first three innings, and he was showing such good form that he seemed surprised that the Jays would go ahead with their pre-game plan of immediately bringing in Ray at that point. Ray allowed a triple to Randy Arozarena to lead off the 4th, the first hard-hit ball by anyone in the game, and the Cuban outfielder came in to score on a wild pitch. However, Ray was solid after that, not allowing anything else as he pitched until the end of the 6th. But the Rays' 1-0 lead still held.
A.J. Cole replaced Ray in the bottom of the 7th, after Snell had given way to Diego Castillo, and he gave the Rays a cushion when he walked Joey Wendle with one out, and then preoccupied with keeping the speedy Wendle close to the bag, grooved a pitch to the next hitter, Manuel Margot, who homered to left field. That 3-0 lead looked insurmountable the way the Rays were pitching, but the Jays did not go down meekly. In the 8th, pinch-hitter Rowdy Tellez, playing his first game in three weeks after a knee injury, hit a single off Nick Anderson with one out, then moved to third when Cavan Biggio doubled to right field. Bo Bichette followed with a fly ball to right and Tellez scored easily on the sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 3-1. In the 9th, facing Pete Fairbanks, Lourdes Gurriel doubled to left with one out, bringing the tying run to the plate. Teoscar Hernandez struck out, but Fairbanks threw a wild pitch while facing Joe Panik, advancing Gurriel another 90 feet. Panik then lined a pitch to the left side of the infield, but 3B Wendle caught it easily, ending the game.
Game 2 @ Tropicana Field
|WP: Tyler Glasnow (1-0); LP: Hyun-Jin Ryu (0-1)|
|Home Runs: TB - Mike Zunino (1), Hunter Renfroe (1); TOR - Danny Jansen 2 (2)|
- Attendance: none
The Blue Jays were hoping for a strong performance from their ace, Hyun-Jin Ryu, who had been given an extra day's rest, to keep up with another anticipated strong outing from the Rays' starter, this time Tyler Glasnow. Glasnow performed as expected, but not Ryu, who simply put did not have anything that day, and who was chased in the 2nd inning after having put the Jays in a deep hole from which they never escaped.
Glasnow started the game very strong, putting down the Blue Jays in order on just 7 pitches, but it was not the case for Ryu. He gave up a hit to the first Rays batter, Mike Brosseau, but got lucky when a strong throw from LF Lourdes Gurriel cut him down at second base as he tried to stretch his lead-off hit into a double. Randy Arozarena followed with another single, as did Brandon Lowe, putting runners on the corners. Ryu managed to strike out Yandy Diaz for the second out but Manuel Margot followed with another single to drive in Arozarena. Next up was Hunter Renfroe who hit a grounder to SS Bo Bichette, but his throw took 1B Travis Shaw off the bag and the bases were loaded. Ryu then managed to strike out Willy Adames to end the inning, but he was lucky to have escaped with only one run against him. In the 2nd, Teoscar Hernandez and Travis Shaw both hit two-out singles against Glasnow, but Joe Panik grounded out to first base to strand them both.
If Ryu had been shaky in the 1st, he completely collapsed in the 2nd. Kevin Kiermaier led off with a single - already the 5th off the South Korean hurler - and Mike Zunino crushed a pitch to deep left field to increase the Rays' lead to 3-0. Ryu struck out Brosseau, but Arozarena followed with a double. Lowe lined out for the second out, but Ryu then walked Diaz. Margot gave the Jays a chance to escape for a second time with limited damage as he hit a grounder to Bichette, but young Bo booted the routine play and was charged with his second error in two innings. The next batter was Renfroe and he hit a no-doubter to left field for a grand slam. The lead was now 7-0, and the ballgame - and as a consequence the series - was for all practical purposes over. Ryu gave way to Ross Stripling to record the final out of the inning.
The Jays managed to score a couple of runs, both of them on solo homers by C Danny Jansen off Glasnow, one to lead off the 3rd and the other in the 5th, but apart from that they were unable to cash in any of their baserunners, even though Glasnow was sometimes wild, throwing a couple of wild pitches. In the end though, he did more than enough to win, allowing just the two runs in 6 innings while striking out 8 Blue Jays. The Rays added an insurance run against Stripling in the 3rd and then cruised the rest of the way. One of the few highlights for the Jays was youngster Nate Pearson who pitched two scoreless innings in relief and struck out five of the six batters he faced, but overall the Jays were no match for a team that had a lot more weapons and that was firing on all cylinders while looking to go very deep in this postseason.
- Gabe Lacques: "Rays look like American League's best: Three takeaways from Tampa Bay's sweep of Blue Jays", USA Today, September 30, 2020. 
- Juan Toribio: "With sweep of Jays, Rays returning to ALDS", mlb.com, October 1, 2020. 
|Major League Baseball Wild Card Series|