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The Rays Tank: Gaining Ground in the AL East

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Hello second wildcard! After sweeping the White Sox, the Rays have moved into a tie for second place in the AL East and also for the second wildcard position.

USA TODAY Sports

The Rays are coming off a three-game series sweep of the Chicago White Sox and have seven games remaining until the All-Star Break, four against Minnesota and three against Houston. Tampa Bay is currently a season’s best 9 games above .500 with a record of 49-40. The Rays have also managed to sneak their way up into a tie for second place not only in the AL East, but also for the second Wild Card position.

For a recap of yesterday’s 3-1 victory over the White Sox and a review of David Price’s dominant outing, you can check out Yossi’s recap here. It’s pretty evident that CyPrice is looking the best he has all year, since his return from the DL. Price will have one more outing against the Astros before the All-Star Break.

A Look Around the AL East

The Boston Red Sox currently hold a four and a half game lead on the division after losing to the Angels 3-0 last night. They continue their ten game road trip by heading to Seattle for a four games series before ending the first half of the season in Oakland. The Red Sox are 7-3 over their last ten games.

Baltimore had a ninth-inning comeback against the Yankees yesterday as Mariano Rivera blew the save opportunity in Yankee Stadium, a rare occurrence. Manny Machado also made a really great play during the game which you can watch below. The Gold Glove award for third baseman is not going to be an easy decision this year.

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The Orioles and Yankees are both 6-4 in their last ten games. Baltimore will host the Rangers next for a four-game series, followed by three games against the Blue Jays. The Yankees will play host to the Royals for the next four games and then the Twins will come to town after they finish their series with us.

Remember not too long ago when the Blue Jays were on an 11-game winning streak? I guess the Rays kind of shifted their momentum when they ended that streak. In their last ten games, the Blue Jays are 4-6 and sit below .500 on the season with a record of 43-45. They’ve also managed to slip in the division race sitting ten games behind the first place Red Sox. To wrap up the first half, Toronto heads to Cleveland for three games and then to Baltimore for three games.

Rays Odds and Ends:

-Ben Zobrist talks to reporters about being selected to the American League All-Star Game and what an honor it is. <iframe src='http://wapc.mlb.com/shared/video/embed/embed.html?content_id=28668957&width=400&height=224&property=mlb' width='400' height='224' frameborder='0'>Your browser does not support iframes.</iframe>

-Kelly Erickson of MLB.com examines the Rays upcoming series against the Twins and Roberto Hernandez’s history against them.

-Joe Maddon is not a fan of daily batting practice at the Trop and left it up to the players this weekend if they wanted to swing in the cages or not.

-As a follow-up to his July 5th tweet about liking the team to swarm, Maddon tweeted this before yesterday's game: <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>More evidence of the swarm: we now have 8 guys with 30 RBI.</p>&mdash; Joe Maddon (@RaysJoeMaddon) <a href="https://twitter.com/RaysJoeMaddon/statuses/353895922859638784">July 7, 2013</a></blockquote>

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-Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times takes a look at the impacts that the Rays new additions are making on the team.

Links:

-After lineups for the 2013 All-Star Game were revealed, there were definitely some big shocks. David Schoenfield of ESPN’s The Sweet Spot blog examines the lineups and feels that the National League has the advantage.

-Emma Span of Sports On Earth also took a look at the ASG lineups and highlights the Evan Longoria snub.

-Mets Catcher, John Buck, interrupted the sausage race at Miller Park this weekend and then gave an outstanding quote when asked about the incident.

-Jon Heyman of CBS Sports talked with Chris Davis about what else but PED’s and homeruns.

-Despite also being in the "Final Vote" for the National League All-Star team, Adrian Gonzalez wants to see his Dodger teammate, Yasiel Puig, win the last roster spot.