First of all, this post is supposed to be related somewhat to the fact that the "Moneyball" movie is out today, but I'm being completely uninspired. There are hundreds of articles out there today about Moneyball, and considering I haven't seen the movie yet, any topic I picked was going to feel already played out to the extreme. So instead, I'd like to direct you to two awesome reviews written by Joe Posnanski and Roger Ebert. The more I read about the movie, the more excited I am to see it; it honestly sounds like a good movie, so hey, whooda thunk it?
Also, this Grantland piece on the artistic liberties taken in Moneyball is hilarious. I know, it doesn't sound like an exciting topic, but it's a fun read.
But anyway, the Rays have some important baseball coming up this weekend. With only six games left, they're two behind Boston in the Wild Card race, essentially meaning the Rays need to be perfect from here on out. Sure, they could make it into the playoffs by merely winning four and with Boston tanking, but that's leaving a lot to chance. Five wins is the minimum the Rays have got to shoot for over these last six games.
In short, the Rays need to step it up. While Boston has gone a mere 5-16 this month, the Rays have made up significant ground by only going 12-9; that's not exactly seizing their opening, as the Rays could be ahead right now if they'd had an impressive month. This is their chance to seize the reins.
Friday: David Price vs. Brandon Morrow
Saturday: Jeff Niemann vs. Ricky Romero
Sunday: Wade Davis vs. Brett Cecil
The only problem is, this series won't be particularly easy. While Morrow has a 4.98 ERA, he's absolutely dominated the Rays every time he faces them; I swear, I'm always surprised at how bad Morrow's overall line looks, since he looks like the next coming of Justin Verlander against the Rays. Tonight's game should be a duel, and we'll have 60+ people there for #OperationDevastation out in the Party Deck, so keep an eye out!
And then over the weekend, the Rays get to face the Jays' ace Ricky Romero, who is handily outperforming his peripherals this year (2.98 ERA, 4.11 FIP). Here's hoping the Rays can bring up his .244 BABIP and actually score once they get runners on base (80% LOB%). Brett Cecil hasn't been terribly impressive this season (4.56 ERA, 4.76 FIP), but then again, neither has Wade Davis. So that game could be a mess.
The Rays hold their fate in their own hands...well, kinda. They do need to Sox to lose at least two more games, and they have to virtually perfect as well. Their playoff odds are somewhere between 10-30% depending how you look at it, but they could do themselves a lot of favors simply by going out there and winning tonight.
You can always see Moneyball later this weekend sometime. For tonight, don't miss the Rays.