ARLINGTON, Texas — A season that saw Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Andriese shuttle between the rotation and the bullpen closed with him making a statement about being a starter when 2017 begins.
Andriese (8-8) allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings as the Rays lost to the Texas Rangers 3-1 on Friday night. The victory earned Texas home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
Yu Darvish (7-5) allowed one run, three hits and a walk while striking out 12. His 28th career game of double-digit strikeouts is the second-most in a pitcher’s first 100 major league starts, topped only by Dwight Gooden (31).
Andriese gave up seven hits, including solo home runs to Carlos Beltran and Rougned Odor. He began the season as a starter and went 5-0 with a 2.28 ERA. He was moved to the bullpen in mid-June to open a spot in the rotation when Blake Snell was recalled from Triple-A Durham. When Matt Moore was traded to San Francisco at the non-waiver trade deadline, Andriese returned to the rotation.
“It was definitely a grind being put in the bullpen and then trying to come back and finish the year in the rotation,” Andriese said. “But I think I proved to some people that with my last four or five starts I do belong in the rotation. I know I can give our team a chance to win if given the opportunity day in and day out.”
“We’re all pleased with how Matt finished the season and what he brought to us this year,” manager Kevin Cash said. “I thought he handled (moving to and from the bullpen) pretty well. We’ve got big hopes for Matt Andriese because we know he can really be a big anchor in our staff.”
The home run to Beltran came on a fastball, the one to Odor on a changeup that was left out over the plate.
“That was probably the one mistake that he’d like to have back,” Cash said.
“That’s a pretty tough lineup over there,” Andriese said. “It wasn’t a bad outing by any means, kind of a decent one to go into the offseason with.”
Darvish went into the game averaging 11.45 strikeouts per nine innings this season, best in the league. In his final four starts of the season, he fanned 38 in 24 2/3 innings.
“He looks a little bit more electric to me,” said Evan Longoria, who had two of the Rays’ four hits. “His ball is moving in different directions.”
MILESTONES FOR LONGORIA
Longoria’s two doubles give him career highs of 171 hits and 80 extra-base hits this season.
“I’ve felt for the most part as comfortable as I’ve ever felt this year at the plate,” he said after driving in the Rays’ lone run. “I guess that helps.”
HOMECOMING FOR WILSON
Bobby Wilson was selected off waivers from Tampa Bay by Texas last season on July 31 and spent the rest of the season in Arlington. He was traded to Detroit in late March, traded back to Texas in May and then re-acquired by the Rays on Aug. 4.
Wilson said he enjoyed his stints with the Rangers and might attend some of their postseason games.
“I wish them nothing but the best,” he said. “It was an honor and a privilege to play for them.”
The Rays are 10-18 in September, the most losses in one month for the team since going 7-20 in July 2007. … Logan Forsythe, who has been the Rays’ leadoff hitter in 123 games this season, appeared as a pinch-hitter and will return to the lineup on Saturday night. … Ian Desmond of the Rangers increased his majors-leading total of outfield errors to 12 with two dropped fly balls.
Tampa Bay: Jake Odorizzi (9-6) hasn’t won since Aug. 30. The Rays have lost in his last four starts, during which he has had a 5.40 ERA.
Texas: Colby Lewis (6-4), who figures to start Game 3 of the Division Series, is 0-3 with a 9.75 ERA in three September starts after missing two months with a strained lat muscle. Lewis lasted only 1 1/3 innings in his previous start last Sunday at Oakland.