The Tampa Bay Rays did it. After everything they went through they are now playing baseball in October. They made the playoffs once again as this is the fourth time in the last six seasons. They are the only team in Major League Baseball to have 90 plus wins in four out of the last five seasons. Before 2008 this team never had a winning season under their belt and now they have turned into of the top contenders year in and year out even with their small payroll. Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman have put together a winning ballclub here in Tampa Bay. After all the ups and downs for Tampa Bay during this season it was great to see them finish it off in game 163 on Monday night in Texas against the Rangers as they collected their 92nd victory on the season allowing them to make it into the postseason once again. They will now travel to Cleveland to take on the Indians on Wednesday night in the wild card one game playoff. This is crunch time as you win or go home but this is nothing new for Rays. Tampa Bay has been in this playoff push almost all of September knowing the importance of each game as they will continue to overcome adversity.
David Price led the way to the playoffs with a complete game in Texas as the Rays won 5-2. Evan Longoria went deep once again to give the Rays a 3-0 lead and the Rays finished them off behind Price making the road. The Rangers have knocked the Rays out of the postseason the last two times the Rays made it so it was finally good to get over that hump and get some revenge. Price's numbers were not good against the Rangers with a 1-7 record and with a 5.57 ERA. Joe Maddon trusted Price because he has the ability to be a work horse which he showed on Monday. There was a feeling to that game where you just knew in the seventh and eighth inning he was not going to let anybody else have that baseball as the Rays had the lead the whole game. He wanted to finish that game off and he finally got that monkey off his back which was the Texas Rangers as he led the Rays to huge win in the tiebreaker game. The game could had been a lot worse as there was a horrible call which would have allowed two more runs to score.
This was no easy season for the Rays to say the least. After a fantastic month of July, August and September were not as kind. The Rays blew 15 saves this year but also had the most walkoff wins as this shows it was just an up and down roller coaster ride. On the last game of the year the Rays had to beat the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday winning a nail biter 7-6 just to sneak into a tie with the Rangers for the second wild card spot. They then played a tiebreaker game in Texas before now this playoff game in Cleveland. Tampa would have had a chance for home game if the Indians would have lost on Sunday but all three teams in the race won as they were battling for two wild card spots on the final game of the season. Tampa Bay started this road trip by sweeping the New York Yankees in a four-game series last week but then dropped that final series against the Blue Jays. The Rays were riding an eight-game win streak into Toronto but the momentum fell after dropping the first two games of the series.
After everything this team went through they are now playing baseball in October and have a great opportunity to make a deep run in the playoffs as it starts with the Indians on Wednesday. Alex Cobb will get the start on Wednesday night. He will be pitching vs a rookie. Look for Cobb to pitch far into the game just as David Price did. Cleveland is sending a right handed pitcher out on the mound so many of the heavy power hitting lefties will be in the lineup for the Rays as they are a much more potent lineup this way. Tampa Bay will look to strike early as they have done a lot in recent games then look for Alex Cobb to cruise to victory. If Tampa Bay gets by the Indians they will then head to Boston to face off vs the Red Sox this weekend. The Rays are not scared of the Red Sox though as they play them 18 times each year. These two ballclubs know each other very well and it will certainly be a grind it out type of series if the Rays can out last the Indians on Wednesday night in Cleveland. The Indians are really hot right now; winning ten games in a row but Rays' fans hope this Rays team can continue with their magic and make a deep run into the playoffs. It is not how you get to the postseason; it’s all about how you finish it.