NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 16: Tampa Bay Ray's manager Joe Maddon argues with home plate umpire Paul Emmel during the third inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 16, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
The schedule set up nicely for the Rays this past week with an opportunity to tighten up the AL East race and maybe even leave New York on Sunday leading the division. Unfortunately, the Rays were swept by the Orioles and lost 2 out of 3 to New York and the AL East division title is all but out of reach and a wild card spot will be an uphill battle.
A 1-5 week this late in the season is usually a death blow for a team but the Rays aren't dead yet. They are 5 games out of the AL East lead and 4 games behind the Baltimore Orioles for the final playoff spot but now trail the Los Angeles Angels who sit between them and the Orioles by 1.5 games. The Rays 3 games with the Baltimore Orioles at the end of the season are the only remaining games on their schedule with teams ahead of them in the playoff chase,
The bright side, if there is one, is that if the Rays were going to lose some ground in the races it was going to be over the past two weeks of the schedule where they played the Yankees 6 times, the Orioles 3 times, and the Rangers 3 times. They finished with a 5-7 record over those 12 games and now move into an easier part of their schedule but they are going to have to play a better brand of baseball than we saw on the last road trip. The next seven days will determine the fate of the Rays season. In my opinion, a 5-2 week at a minimum is required to keep the post season dream alive.
After tough two week schedule that included six games against the Yankees, three against the Rangers, and and three against the Orioles the Rays will host the Boston Red Sox for 4 and the Toronto Blue Jays for 3 games.
Playoff Contenders Upcoming Schedules:
The Baltimore Orioles will remain on the road this week as they will take on the Seattle Mariners for 3 games before heading cross country to take on the Boston Red Sox over the weekend.
The Chicago White Sox host the Tigers in a makeup game on Monday before heading to Kansas City for a 3 game series and then to Los Angeles to take on the Angels over the weekend.
The Oakland Athletics will be in Detroit for three games before moving to New York to take on the Yankees for a 3 game weekend series.
The Los Angeles Angels will host the Texas Rangers for 3 games before welcoming the Chicago White Sox for a 3 game weekend series.
The Texas Rangers will be on the road to take on the Angels for 3 games before traveling to Seattle to take on the Mariners for 3 games over the weekend.
Saturday, September 15th: Sean Rodriguez was activated from the 15-day disabled list.
Tuesday, September 11th: Orioles 9 Rays 2
Matt Moore looked fatigued and the Orioles capitalized by knocking him out of the game after only 4 innings. The Orioles bats didn't seem to mind whatever pitcher the Rays brought in though. They scored 3R/2ER off Moore, 2R/ER off Burke Badenhop, 1R/ER off Cesar Ramos, 1R/ER off J.P. Howell, and capped their scoring with 2R/ER off Dane De La Rosa.
Luke Scott on the energy at Camden Yards:
"I appreciate [the energy at Camden Yards Tuesday night]," said former Orioles player Luke Scott. "I'm glad to see it as a fan of the game and as a former player. I played in this city, so I'm glad to see good things happen. But I'm not happy about the loss. I'm concerned about going to the playoffs with the Rays. But at the same time, I'm glad to see good things happen for this team and the guys I played with over there." - mlb.com
J.J. Hardy simplifies his 4-5 with two 2-run homers and 5 RBI:
"I got a couple pitches to hit and didn't miss them," - mlb.com
Wednesday, September 12th: Baltimore 3 Rays 2
The Rays offense once again failed to deliver the key hit as they had 9 hits and were gifted to 7 walks but were only able to muster 2 runs.
Joe Maddon pointed to the lack of timely hitting as a reason for the Rays struggles:
The close game, unable to score enough to support really good pitching -- we've been getting outstanding pitching since the All-Star break, both starters and relievers.
"That's the game that's pretty much put us where we're at right now. That's typical of why we're several games out of first place right now." - mlb.com
And later in the same interview went back:
"We just have to get more offense somewhere," Maddonsaid. "That's the part of the game that has not been forthcoming withany kind of consistency. We've gotten better on defense. Pitching's been outstanding. The offense kind of comes and goes a bit. ... Basically a lot of it has to do with our inability to get the big hit when we need it." - mlb.com
Thursday, September 13th: Orioles 3 Rays 2
The frustration continued on a Thursday afternoon as the Rays offense was unable to deliver a key hit and Baltimore celebrated a pivotal victory with a walk off win in 14 innings. The game winning once again came off the bat of rookie Manny Machado and Matt Joyce, playing in left field, came within a few inches of making a diving grab to extend the game:
"I actually shaded him that way," Joyce said. "I shaded him to pull it down the line a couple of steps in because if there was a ball hit in the hole between third and short, I needed to have a chance to throw him out at the plate. I guess I just didn't shade him one step enough."
"The only thing I can tell you is I didn't come up with it," Joyce said. "It's one of those tough plays. You give it your best shot. Sometimes you come down with it, sometimes you don't." - mlb.com
Friday, September 14th: Rays 6 Yankees 4
David Pricereturned to the mound after missing a start due to shoulder stiffness and delivered a much needed 7 innings in holding the potent New York Yankees lineup to 2 runs. The Rays offense woke up and drove C.C. Sabathia from the game tagging him for 4 runs in 6 innings.
Joe Maddon on David Price:
"Yankees, this ballpark, everything that was at stake -- he's done it before and he's done it versus Sabathia before,"
"All of those things have to count. They have to count for us and they have to count when you evaluate him over the course of the season." - mlb.com
Saturday, September 15th: Yankees 5 Rays 3
James Shields allowed back to back homers to Curtis Granderson and Eduardo Nunez to fall behind 3-0 in the bottom of the third inning and the Rays offense was never able to battle back in falling to the Yankees 5-3. The Rays had runners in scoring position but once again were unable to capitalize dropping to 8-52 (.153) with runners in scoring position over their last 8 games.
James Shields on the two home run balls:
"I thought I made a bad pitch to Nunez," Shields said. "I felt the pitch to Grandersonwas a good pitch. I went back and looked at the video, it was down and away, on the black. He's a good hitter, and obviously with the short porch, he's going to try to pop it out over there. He did put a good swing on that." - mlb.com
Sunday, September 16th: Yankees 6 Rays 4
The inexperience of Matt Moore was on display in the 3rd inning as he was rattled by Yankees on the bases before watching Russell Martin deliver a 3-run homer to put the Rays in a 5-0 hole that they were never able to climb out of.
Matt Moore on his atrocious 3rd inning:
"I didn't do a very good job of anything with put-aways the way I was supposed to," Moore said. "I know [about the short wall] in right field, and I challenged him with a fastball away in a count like that, and I've seen him do it to guys before. It was a big mistake." - mlb.com
How many games do the Rays need to win this week to keep their post-season dreams alive?
At least 4 games (3 votes)
At least 5 games (44 votes)
At least 6 games (64 votes)
Rays need to sweep all 7 games to regain playoff aspirations. (54 votes)
165 total votes