This season wasn't supposed to turn out this way. Outside of the Yankees, every team in the AL East can express that sentiment and get away with it. The Red Sox were supposed to be challenging for a playoff spot, not struggling to stay out of the AL East cellar. The Blue Jays were supposed to be better this year, especially if their pitching came together. The Orioles weren't supposed to be good, nor did anyone expect them to continue competing this late into the year. And the Rays...well, the Rays weren't supposed to be without Evan Longoria for half the season.
Despite all these preseason expectations, here we are in late September and the Rays are two and a half weeks away from being finished playing baseball for the year. Sure, there's technically still time to make the playoffs. The Rays have bucked impossible odds before, and they can do it again. But they didn't do themselves any favors by losing five out of six games against the Orioles and Yankees last week.
If you look at the AL Wild Card standings right now, it's not a pretty picture for the Rays: they're four games back from the Orioles for the second Wild Card spot, and one and a half games behind the Angels. For the Rays to have any shot at the playoffs, they need to be nigh perfect during this coming homestand against the Red Sox and Blue Jays.
A month ago, the Rays had a 70% chance of making the playoffs according to BPro. A week ago, they had a 59% chance of making the playoffs. Now? They are holding on to a 27% chance, and those odds still don't believe the Orioles can keep this up.
Hope is still technically alive, but I dunno man. I dunno.
- If you're looking for an inspirational and heart-touching story to kick off your Monday, check out this story on Ted Kremer -- a 29-year-old man with Down's Syndrome that got to be the Reds' batboy for one night. Amazing.
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- Jeff Sullivan looks at one of PETCO Park's surprising hitter-friendly spots.