Well, here come the Orioles...
Why? Why must it always be so tight at the end of the season. Literal heart conditions aside, my figurative heart can't take it much more.
They've got six more games against the Toronto Blue Jays (60-74), including two more in their current series. They've got four more games against the Yankees (76-58), six more games against the Rays, three more games against the Oakland A's (76-58) and Seattle Mariners (66-70), and six more games against the Boston Red Sox (62-74).
Unfortunately for the Rays, that schedule is a little bit easier than the theirs and Yankees. With exception to the A's -- who are 9-1 in their last 10 games -- the Yankees are on a slide, the Red Sox have been mediocre at best this season, and the Blue Jays are the Blue Jays.
The Orioles are now just one game behind the Yankees, with two more games against the Blue Jays this week. Their next series is against the Yankees, followed by what will surely be a crucial series with the Rays.
The Rays are an even 6-6 against the Orioles this season, but assuming both teams continue to play the way they've been playing, splitting the two series they still have left with the Orioles will make it extremely difficult to win the AL East.
Then there's the Yankees. They've struggled of late, going 4-6 in their last 10 games. But it's the Yankees, so anything is possible. To make matters worse for both the Rays and Orioles, the Yankees still have six games against the Red Sox, including the final series of the regular season. They've got seven games against the Blue Jays, and three games against the lowly Minnesota Twins.
To make matters worse, the red-hot play of the Orioles and A's has them sitting atop the Wild Card standings, leaving the Rays 1.5 games back. In order for the Rays to even make the playoffs now, they'll need both teams to start losing critical games, while they win critical games. There will be plenty of critical games for sure.
Try to keep up, people. Bring out your 4G phones, do a little wifi calling to your relatives, grab your old school radios, and prepare for another battle in the AL East. Why do they always have to have us biting our nails for a month?