The Rays Tank: Here goes nothing

Jim Rogash

Every game is a must win from here on out. October is coming.

The off days are done. 20 games to go.

Here's what the rest of the (AL-East heavy) schedule looks like:


vs. Boston vs. Boston vs. Boston at Twins at Twins
at Twins vs. Rangers vs. Rangers vs. Rangers vs. Rangers vs. Orioles vs. Orioles
vs. Orioles vs. Orioles at Yankees at Yankees at Yankees at Blue Jays at Blue Jays
at Blue Jays

And while we're at it, the current Wild Card standings:

Wild Card W L PCT WCGB
TEX 81 62 .566 +2.5
TB 78 64 .549 -
BAL 77 66 .538 1.5
CLE 77 66 .538 1.5
NYY 76 68 .528 3.0
KC 75 69 .521 4.0

David Schoenfield over at the SweetSpot has picked the Rays as the best bet for the second AL wild-card spot.

His reasoning and players to watch:

  • The Rays play the Red Sox, Rangers and Orioles at home, where they're 44-26 this season.
  • Matt Moore. Two solid outings since returning from the DL, though a little high on the walks.
  • Evan Longoria. Past 14 games: .176 with one extra-base hit, a solo homer Saturday.
  • Best rotation of the five teams contending for the second Wild Card spot.

And his final conclusion:

If the Rays go 12-8 to get to 90 wins, that means the Orioles and Indians have to win 14 of their final 20 just to tie -- that's .700 baseball. I still like Tampa's chances.

This Red Sox-Rays series may not have the intensity Joe Maddon thought possible a few short weeks ago, but he believes this team can still snag that second spot and take on the playoffs:

"Forgetting about all that stuff, I just want us to play good baseball," Maddon said. "If we get back to playing baseball the way we can every night, good things will happen. We'll get there some way. That's my only concern right now, is making sure we play well and right and continue to be more process-oriented, stay present tense, those kind of things."

David Price echoed Maddon's sentiments:

"We just need to win," said ace David Price, who starts tonight. "It's September right now, and we control our own destiny. We just need to win baseball games. It doesn't matter who we're playing against. Just find a way to get into October."

So here we go.

Links:

- Buck Showalter and Joe Girardi got into a little tiff during Monday night's Orioles-Yankees matchup.

- The E60 airing tonight on ESPN2 at 7:00 p.m. EST focuses on Rays-fan-favorite Jonny Gomes dodging death and making it to the big leagues.

- 32 things you didn't know about baseball.

- Comeback player stories always get everyone all warm and fuzzy.

- MVP arguments. Again. Mike Trout. Miguel Cabrera. Again.

- Old school vs. new school logic on Max Scherzer's candidacy for AL Cy Young.

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