HOUSTON, Texas — Veteran pitcher Corey Kluber has done a lot of good things for the Tampa Bay Rays this season. He's won 10 games, looked dominant at times, and has been a tremendous locker room presence for the rest of the Rays' young starting rotation.
Kluber, 36, takes the ball on Sunday when the Rays close out their season series with the top-seeded Houston Astros. It will be his team-leading 31st start of the season, and he's the ONLY Rays starter to answer the bell for every start in 2022, his first with the Rays and 12th of his career.
But now comes the big question: What comes next?
The Rays have already clinched a playoff spot, and they will play in the wild-card round starting on Friday. The most likely scenario is that the Rays will play the American League Central champion Cleveland Guardians in the best-of-three series. All the the games are played in one location, at the home of the higher seed.
But is there room for Kluber in the rotation in a short series like that? Probably not.
Shane McClanahan and Drew Rasmussen, in some order, are the likely starters for the first two games. And if there is a need for a third game, it's more likely that the Rays would turn to some combination of Tyler Glasnow and Jeffrey Springs, which leaves Kluber out of the mix, at least for the first round. The winner of that series gets the New York Yankees next in a best-of-five series, and that might be the next time we see Kluber, if at all.
After Sunday, the Rays finish the season with three games in Boston. And there's still a lot to figure out between now and then.
Here's how to watch Sunday's game with the Astros:
How to watch Rays at Astros
- Who: Tampa Bay Rays (86-72) at Houston Astros (103-55)
- When: 2:10 p.m. ET, Sunday, Oct. 2
- Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas
- TV: Bally Sports Sun
- Announcers: Dewayne Staats (play-by-play), Brian Anderson (color commentary) and Tricia Whitaker (reporter).
- Stream: Fubo.tv CLICK HERE
- Radio: WDAE 95.3 FM. SiriusXM Channel 180 (Astros broadcast; Rays online only
- Announcers: Andy Freed, and Neil Solondz
- Latest Line: Houston is favored at minus-172 on the money line according to the Fanduel.com website line as of Sunday morning. The Rays are at plus-142. The over/under is 7.5.
Projected starting lineups
- Tampa Bay Rays: Manuel Margot CF, Randy Arozarena RF, David Peralta LF, Harold Ramirez DH, Ji-Man Choi 1B, Christian Bethancourt C, Isaac Paredes 3B, Miles Mastrobuoni 2B, Taylor Walls SS, Corey Kluber P.
- Houston Astros: Jose Altuve 2B, Jeremy Pena SS, Yordan Alvarez DH, Alex Bregman 3B, Kyle Tucker RF, Yuli Gurriel 1B, Trey Mancini LF, Christian Vasquez C, Chas McCormick CF, Luis Garcia P.