It is hard to give tribute to the 3 games the Rays won versus the Yankees or how the Orioles took 2 out of 3 from the Red Sox. A season collapse that has led to the dismissal of Terry Francona and resulted in the Rays ending up playing in the AL Division Series. Let's take a quick look back at some of the great plays that finished a tremendous regular season. Take some time to watch the clips and read the quotes, as I prepared them I was stunned at all the action that occurred over the course of the week.
Shields has "been a tough guy from the time that I've met him," Maddon said. "I think that he has been able to learn to channel his emotions a little better. He's always been emotional, and sometimes that would get in the way. Now, he's able to feed that emotion into performance, and you're seeing him having a wonderful year. He's really a Cy Young candidate. I know what [Tigers 24-game-winner Justin] Verlander has done. But James' name has to be mentioned very well up there also."-mlb.com
"[Ellsbury's] a good center fielder, so first time I got out of the box, I was hoping either it got out or he doesn't catch it," Andino said. "He caught it, but he hit the wall and dropped it, so that's my cue to keep running." -mlb.com
"I've got no words for it," Andino said. "It's priceless." -mlb.com
"It was probably one of the most exciting times you can possibly have on a baseball field -- in our town, two games left in the season, everything riding on the line, you're down a run, you know it was just a big hit," Joyce said. "We've had a chance for everyone to chip in all year, and everybody's done a great job of sharing those big hits.
"For me, I was struggling at the plate and a bunch of the guys kept picking me up saying, 'You're going to come through, you're going to get a big hit. Just relax, calm down.' It's awesome to be a part of a team that really pulls together." -mlb.com
Longoria said though Martin "doesn't run terribly for a catcher," in the Yankees lineup he's the one player "you have a chance" to turn a triple play on.-tbo.com
Evan Longoria with a key defensive play:
Nolan Reimold hits game tying double in Camden Yards:
Robert Andino with the walk-off single:
Carl Crawford unable to make same play against Orioles opening day 2008:
Rays fans react to the Red Sox loss:
Evan Longoria Walk Off Wild Card Clinching Homer:
Evan Longoria discusses the walk off homer:
Joe Maddon on the Rays victory:
"I know it's big," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "But I'm not there yet. I haven't wrapped my mind around it. We've been too busy trying to do this. I haven't grasped it all yet. I will at some point. I'm totally aware of the circumstances and the place in baseball history. But for right now, I'm not quite there yet." With one out in the 12th and Evan Longoria at the plate, the score flashed at Tropicana Field that the Orioles had defeated the Red Sox, 4-3, which meant a Rays win would get them to the postseason.-mlb.com
Evan Longoria on the home run:
"I just tried to step out of the box, take a deep breath," Longoria said. "Try and remember what we're playing for. Obviously we had an opportunity at that point to win and get into the playoffs. I mean, I'm thinking about getting on base and scoring a run."-mlb.com
Robert Andino on the Orioles victory:
"End of season like this, [to] make Boston go home sad, crying, I'll take it all day,"-mlb.com
Matt Wieters on the victory:
"It feels great," added catcher Matt Wieters, who, along with the rest of the Orioles and Red Sox, spent most of the 86-minute rain delay watching the Rays rally from a seven-run deficit. "To end the year like that is pretty special and that's something to take into the offseason, keep working even harder to where we can be celebrating like Tampa is." -mlb.com
Buck Showalter on the Orioles victory:
"From what I understand, Atlanta's feeling the same way right now," said manager Buck Showalter, who expressed some sympathy for Boston's plight. "It's a heartless game sometimes, but I've found out through the years that the baseball gods, so to speak, always let you up off the deck if you're true to what's right and you just keep grinding. They eventually will reward you for that, and I keep telling our guys that. It was nice to get a return for that here."-mlb.com
How they got there: MLB Productions look at Rays from Spring Training to Game 162.
A great look at the events of Wednesday night (h/t to Jason Collette for tipping me off)
Like the rest of the Monday Morning Wrap Up, SF1 discusses the final 3 games of the regular season:
G'Morning Rays fans everywhere
And what a great day it is to be a Rays fan. While I normally recap the entire week, I decided to leave the LDS alone until we proceed into the LCS. And besides, i doubt it will hold the drama of the three games that got us there. From the triple play to Evan Longoria's game winning and playoff clinching home run, I have never seen such incredible drama, and for lack of a better way to describe, some divine intervention. How does Robert Andino on Monday hit an inside the park HR, Jonathan Papelbon blow a crucial save with two outs no one on base in Wednesday's deciding game?
As for the Rays Evan Longoria truly earned the name given him by my friend RJ Anderson, Evan Elite. Not only does he start an unbelievable triple play, makes a great play tagging out Greg Golson who had strayed off third base on a ground ball to third with runners on first and third and no outs, hits a three run bomb and eventually the game and playoff clinching HR in the thirteenth inning.
Now let's finish off these Rangers here at the Trop and on to the LCS