You feel that?
It’s playoff energy, babyyyyyy.
With Wednesday’s 4-0 win over the Yankees, the Rays came all that much closer to experiencing actual playoff energy, as they improved to an ungodly 31 games over .500, with Cleveland and Oakland in action as we speak, determining just how this wild Wild Card race will look entering the final weekend.
The Rays got off to a good start against Mr. Loaisiga Wednesday... with Joey Wendle poking one over the wall in dead center for the instantaneous 1-0 lead. The Rays kept hitting Loaisiga hard, with Brandon Lowe eventually driving in Austin Meadows later in the first for the 2-0 lead.
Now, there are certain colleagues of mine who would’ve made comments to the extent of “No way Charlie doesn’t hand this right back,” but boy oh boy did he not hand it back.
Morton was locked and loaded Wednesday, with one of his best, and certainly his most important, start as a Ray coming with impeccable timing. For the next four innings, the teams traded zeroes back and forth, Morton always with an answer for any even small Yankee rally (which were few and far between and often created by the, um. interesting choices made behind the plate by Cory Blaser).
Morton’s final line: 6 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 3 BB, 9 K, hopefully will be enough to quell the weird anti-Morton contingent of the fanbase once and for all, as the man has clearly proven himself worthy of the franchise-record contract he got this offseason.
While Morton was busy locking ish down on the mound, the offense kept plugging away in what was a low-scoring two-gamer with New York, picking up a third run in the bottom of the sixth, thanks to Avisail Garcia and Matt Duffy, and one more in the eighth thanks to Garcia (once again) and the catwalk (although that ball was gone in any stadium).
In what felt much closer than a three/four-run game, Kevin Cash did an excellent job handling the pen, going with Diego Castillo for the seventh; Oliver Drake for the first two outs of the seventh, Nick Anderson for the final out of the eighth, and then Andrew Kittredge once the lead got to four for the ninth.
Cash pulled the trigger at the exact right moment on the Drake-for-Anderson swap, and Kitt rewarded him for his faith with a immaculate ninth inning (and very nearly an immaculate inning—just one foul ball away).
This game was honestly what Rays fans really live for. It was an electric atmosphere. Their “big names” delivered. Not only did they beat the Yankees, but it meant a sweep. It’s meaningful baseball on September 28, and it almost guarantees meaningful baseball throughout the entire regular season.
I know we’re all getting ulcers left and right, but let’s make sure we also take some time to appreciate how fun this shit is in the moment. Because looking back on it is great, but being able to realize that in the moment is bliss.
Let’s go, White Sox!