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Not As Good News

We're now 6-10, 5.5 back of Toronto - a nice story and a better team than most know, but odds are they aren't ahead when the season ends - and about 3.5 back of both Boston and New York.  That's the more important race as far as our playoff hopes are concerned. The good news is that the Rays are .500 against those two, the bad news is that the Rays are .300 versus everyone else. That's going to change - it has to - and when it does the gap should shrink a bit.

Most projection systems had the Yankees and Sox a handful of games better. As we know, those attempt to measure true talent. Wang's struggles and Rodriguez' injury weren't covered in those projections, so knock a win or two off, and the Rays are still a few back. The problem is the team has done nothing to make up or maintain that distance - assuming the teams are still relatively close to the projected true talent level, and they should be.

Assume we play like a 90-win team the rest of the way; we're looking at about 87 wins. That's probably not enough for the playoffs. Playing like a 95-win team leaves us closer to 92. That might do it, might not. Hard to say. With the American League being ridiculously good this season (so good that we may not see a team win less than 70 games) the best team in the AL could only win 95 games.

It's not time to panic yet, and don't look too far ahead, but after three in Oakland and Minnesota, the Rays have four versus Boston and two against Baltimore at home. Then they visit New York for two, Boston for three, and Baltimore for another two. We're looking towards a few weeks that should tell us a lot about our playoff hopes entering the middle of May.

Also, per Baseball Prospectus, we have about a 40% shot at the playoffs, despite the awful start. That's not as bad as I figured. Now, let's ruin those numbers with some wins, please.