If the Rays are going to have any chance at a game 163 they are going to not only take care of their own business and sweep the Baltimore Orioles but will need the Texas Rangers to sweep the Oakland Athletics. That outcome is doubtful but it is still remarkable that after all the injuries and poor offensive performance that game 160 still will be played to determine the outcome of the Rays season. Count me in as one who expected the Rays to be in a better position after winning 10 of their last 11 games.
Unlike the previous Wrap Up's there isn't a reason to examine the injury report, the upcoming schedules of all the contenders in the AL, or transactions that have occurred. This is simply a look back at another solid week of Rays baseball which saw the Rays win 5 out of 6 games by sweeping the Red Sox in a 2 game series and taking 3 out fo 4 from the White Sox.
Thanks for all of your contributions to the Monday Morning Wrap Ups and here's to hoping that games 161 and 162 hold as much value to the Rays and their fans as game160 does.
Tuesday, September 25th: Rays 5 Red Sox 2
David Price was shaky early on allowing 6 hits and 2 runs, including one that he balked in, in the first three innings but Price would do what aces do and that straighten himself out and dominate the opposition. Price only allowed 1 more hit after the 3rd inning and never even had a 3 ball count on any batter for the entire game while striking out 13 Red Sox on his way to tossing a complete game gem. The Rays offense was backed by a 3 run homer off the bat of Jeff Keppinger that gave Price an early 3 run cushion. The victory gave Price #19 on the year and he also topped the 200K mark for the second year in a row. The victory was the Rays 6th in a row and kept them alive in the chase for a post season spot.
David Price credits Jose Molina with the turnaround:
"I felt like their approach to me in the second and third inning was very good," said Price. "I felt like they were trying to hit all the fastballs to right field, [and] that put 'em on time with the cutter. Granted it was catching too much plate and it was too much middle away. Molina came and talked to me after the third inning, told me we're going to switch some stuff up and give them some different looks and we kept doing that and it was pretty smart words." - mlb.com
Joe Maddon on the Rays post season push:
"It should be real. It's real to me right now. I'd like to believe the players believe it's real" Maddon said. "Listen, we just keep going 1-0, we're in pretty good shape. You got to go keep applying pressure. Again, we've talked about 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' in the past. Who are those guys? We got to be those guys to somebody." - mlb.com
Wednesday, September 26th: Rays 4 Red Sox 2
The Rays won their 7th in a row thanks to a Carlos Pena 2-run homer followed by a Ben Franciscosolo shot off Red Sox starter Jon Lester in the 5th inning. The Rays pitching staff did what they do and that is shut do wn the opposition. Alex Cobb worked the first five and then the Rays used 5 relievers to get the final 12 outs.
Carlos Pena on his homer against Jon Lester
"I really got that one. I don't know how far it went, I knew I had connected with it pretty well," said Pena, who has more home runs against Lester than any other active player. "I was surprised to see how far it went. When I saw [center fielder Scott] Podsednik turn around, I'm like 'Great, he can't get it, can't catch it.'" - mlb.com
Joe Maddon on the Rays post season hopes:
"I want it to be exactly like last year," Maddon said. "It's starting to look a lot like Christmas. We've just been playing so well. The mantra is one game at a time. ... What I like is there's a real looseness about us. But I'll tell you, when the game begins, our focus is really good. They draw it in really nicely and I like that. I'm really eager to get to Chicago." - mlb.com
Thursday, September 27th: Rays 3 White Sox 2
The Rays won their 8th straight game as Evan Longoria smoked a solo homer in the top of the ninth to break a 2-2 tie and Fernando Rodney came in to shut the door picking up his 46th save on the year which sets the new franchise record of 45 previously held by Rafael Soriano. The game featured a rare appeal play in the bottom of the 8th when Jordan Danks failed to touch second base returning to first on a fly out to center.
Evan Longoria on his home run off Brett Myers:
"So I hadn't even seen the slider yet," Longoria said. "The pitch was a slider, but it got enough of the plate and stayed up enough. I was late [against White Sox starter Jake] Peavyallday. He had my number with the fastball, so maybe in that situation the slider was the best pitch for me. If he throws a fastball, I don't know what happens. But again, my bat speed was perfect for the slider today." - mlb.com
Joe Maddon on the appeal play:
"Twenty of us [on the bench] noticed it at the same time," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "[Danks] went [to second base], hit the bag, kind of stepped over it and popped right on the other side. That's what we saw. It's always funny, infielders don't understand what we were trying to get across to them. 'Step on the bag, step on the bag.' [Second-base umpire] Alfonso Marquez was all over it." - mlb.com
Friday, September 28th: White Sox 3 Rays 1
Gavin Floyd shut down the Rays lineup for the first 5.1 innings and Jessie Crainstymied them over the next 2.2 innings of extended relief work as the Rays fell to the White Sox3-1. The loss dealt the Rays a serious blow in their post season hopes as both the Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics won taking the ability to control their own destiny out of the Rays hands. After the game Joe Maddon said that the Rays only had one mulligan left and they have used it.
Joe Maddon on the loss:
"[Floyd] wasn't sharp," Maddon said. "It wasn't he was particularly sharp. We had opportunities and weren't able to get it done. That's just how the game works sometimes. You can play well and you can pitch well but just not get a hit at the right time. It's like they didn't do anything spectacular. But I thought Crain was the key to that game. Crain doing what he did permitted them to hold on to the lead and win that game." - mlb.com
Saturday,September 29th: Rays 10 White Sox 4
Matt Moore entered Saturday's start against the White Sox withaSeptember line of 0-3 with a 7.31 ERA in 4 starts. In those 4 starts he had worked just 16 innings and allowed 18 hits while striking out 19 and walking 10. On Saturday he was sharp and didn't allow a White Sox base runner to reach until the 5th inning. Moore worked 5.1 scoreless innings allowing just 1 hit while striking out 4 and walking 2. Meanwhile, Chris Sale had a little more trouble with this Rays lineup than the lineup he faced the last time he faced the Rays. The Rays knocked Sale out of the game after 3.1 innings tagging him for 5 runs on 7 hits and the Rays went on to defeat the White Sox 10-4. The Rays received home runs from Jeff Keppinger, Chris Gimenez, and two from Matt Joyce.
Rays Lineup May 28th vs Chris Sale:
Joe Maddon on the Oakland Athletics come back victory and the Rays post season hopes:
"That's unfortunate, but we just have to win our game and I was really pleased with the way we played,- mlb.com
Sunday, September 30th: Rays 6 White Sox 2
David Price won his 20th game of the season tossing another super quality start and B.J. Upton was 3-5 with 2 home runs. The victory should help propel Price to the AL Cy Young Award and when asked if he would vote for himself Price answered in the affirmative.
David Price on winning 20 games:
"It feels good, it does," Price said. "Without my teammates, what they've done for me all year, every five days, it's been very special. So thanks to all these guys, the coaches and the training staff, it was fun." - mlb.com
Joe Maddon on the Rays playoff hopes:
"But I really love the competition, I think it's great," Maddonsaid. "My hat's off to these others teams for hanging in there as well as they have. I think it's great. I think it's good for baseball. The two Wild Card system really appears to be stirring it up this year. And again, mission accomplished with that." - mlb.com