FanShot

Season Preview: Tampa Bay Rays

Pitching is the name of the game, and you can put the RAYS’ name in bold and capital letters. Returning each and all of their relatively young and very talented starting pitchers, Manager Joe Maddon and the 2012 Tampa Bay Rays look to return to the playoffs. The 2011 regular season ended in dramatic fashion. In early September, the Rays trailed the Boston Red Sox by nine games for the final playoff spot. By the final night of the season, the Rays needed a win and a Boston loss to capture the last remaining spot in the American League. Trailing the Yankees 7-0 after seven innings, the Rays made their move towards a finish that would never be believed if made into a movie. Evan Longoria capped off a six run 8th inning with his 1st home run of the game. One inning later, and one strike away from defeat, Dan Johnson hit a pinch hit home run to tie the game. Three innings later and just minutes after getting the news that Boston blew their late lead, Longoria hit the most dramatic home run in Tampa Bay history. The last playoff spot was captured by one game over the Sox. The night of September 28, 2011 goes down in baseball history as the most exciting and unbelievable finish to a season ever.

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