The Rays beat the Yankees last night, despite Matt Moore being painful to watch. Elsewhere in the wild card race, Indians closer Chris Perez blew the save in the top of the ninth inning, but Jason Giambi blasted a two-run walkoff shot in the bottom of the inning to keep Cleveland a mere one game behind the Rays and in sole possession of the second wild card slot. The Rangers also held serve against the Astros.
I feel for Baltimore. I've idly rooted for them since before the Rays were good, I maintained a paternal glance once we were relevant and they were not, and I will always be thankful for game 162. Now that both teams are contenders, I have difficulty mustering the appropriate level of ill wishes. To answer a question posed yesterday, yes, this year's Baltimore Orioles were almost certainly better than last year's crop.
The baseball season is long, and to follow a team is to become invested in the journey. For me, the pain of elimination is always about the realization that much of the season will be lost to history, will not be capped with "importance" the way a more triumphant story would have been. As solace for any grieving Orioles fans who wander into these parts, I offer 2009. The Rays didn't make the playoffs, but the season is not forgotten. We remember Ben Zobrist becoming Zorilla. We remember Jason Bartlett doing his best Dustin Pedroia impression. We remember Carlos Pena leading the league in home runs before having his season ended by a broken hand, and we remember B.J. Upton hitting for the cycle. Those things don't cease to have happened when the team fails.
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Speaking of the birds, Manny Machado's injury is a torn kneecap. His recovery time will be six to eight weeks.
If the Rays were to play Cleveland in the wild card round, they might face a resurgent Ubaldo Jimenez. Kyle Boddy explores his turnaround.
Jeff Sullivan takes a look at whether Joey Votto is disciplined or passive. Hearing about someone complaining about Joey Votto makes my blood boil (no offense to Loney, who's done wonderfully this season).
Chris St. John takes a look at rookie league numbers and what they mean. Check in on Riley Unroe, Thomas Milone, and Nick Ciuffo.
We now have 24 Rays entries in Tom Tango's fan scouting report. I know how many people read this. It's more than 24. How can the man use the wisdom of the crowd, when only a crowd of 24 shows up to act wise?
Finally, Jacob Landis is an Orioles fan who was riding his bike to baseball stadiums around the country to raise money for charity (to fund cochlear implants). The Trop was his penultimate stop. On the road to Miami, he was sideswiped by a truck in a hit and run accident. He's going to be okay, but he'd probably feel better if you visited his site and either gave money or just learned a bit more about cochlear implants.