History is important. If you don’t know history it is as if you were born yesterday.
Some 730 days ago, the Rays found themselves in a do-or-die situation that came down to final game of the baseball season. In 2011, a Rays win would have given them at least an opportunity to face the Boston Red Sox in a one-game tie breaker. We’re all well versed in what happened on that glorious final day of baseball by now — the Rays came from behind, late in the game, to beat the New York Yankees, while the Red Sox fell to the Orioles, deleting all hopes of a postseason berth. So much has changed, it seems nothing ever changes.
Some 730 days later, here we are in a similar do-or-die situation. Only this time it’s between three teams (Rays, Rangers and Indians) as opposed to two. One thing is certain, Tampa Bay has to win… That is unless the improbable happens, and all three teams lose*. It’s somehow fitting that their chances to make the playoffs have come down to what will be a wild final day of the regular season. As Joe Maddon put it,
We’ve been here before. We’ve been in these moments. We never do things seemingly easily. So let’s play (today) and see what happens.
In yesterday’s post game interview, Evan Longoria went on to say,
We like to make it interesting, that’s for sure. I like our chances. I’m excited for tomorrow.
As with 2011, if the Rays win today, they’ll extend their season to at least a tiebreaking Game 163 on Monday in either Texas or Cleveland. Lose, and they risk being eliminated if the Rangers win. As Marc Topkin put it, “In between are scenarios where they could still host the Wednesday wild-card game, end up on the road as the second wild card or, if there is a three-way tie, potentially go from playing in Toronto today to Cleveland on Monday to Texas on Tuesday to St. Petersburg on Wednesday and on to Boston on Friday.”
The folks at DRaysBay broke things down like this:
- Rays win, Rangers win, Indians win: Rays travel to Texas for a tiebreaker game, then the winner of that travels to Cleveland for the wild card game.
- Rays win, Rangers lose, Indians win: Rays travel to Cleveland for the wild card game.
- Rays win, Rangers lose, Indians lose: Indians travel to St. Petersburg for the wild card game.
- Rays win, Rangers win, Indians lose: This scenario is more complex. Dan broke it down yesterday.
- Rays lose, Rangers lose: Rays travel to Texas for a tiebreaker game, then the winner of that travels to Cleveland for the wild card game.
- Rays lose, Rangers win: Rays go home.
The New What Next
And it all comes down to this. Matt Moore (16-4, 3.23 ERA, 4.28 SIERA, 145 IP) will take the bump against St. Petersburg native, Todd Redmond (4-2, 3.77 ERA, 3.69 SIERA, 76.1 IP) in what promises to be the most important game of the Rays season. You can read about the match-up here.
Rays 9/29/13 Starting Lineup
- “Please let today be a GOOD day!!! We have come to far to just stop after today!!! 162 game season and it comes down to game 162…that’s nuts…what if we played 37 games??” — David Price (via Twitter)
- Ian Malinowski of DRaysBay put together a nice scouting report of Todd Redmond. It’s especially good for those of us that have tried to forget what he did to the Rays in August.
- If the Rays play in Cleveland Monday, as part of three-way tiebreaker, the game will be at 4:07 p.m. If they play in Texas on Monday in two-team tiebreaker, the game will be at 8:07.
*Among other mathematically possible scenarios