To thine own ruin, be true.
-Rob Coe, The Enablers
At this time tomorrow, the Rays could find themselves in one of three places: on a plane to either Arlington or Detroit (gulp, hopefully Arlington), getting ready to for another battle against the Red Sox, or on their way to their respective houses. What has been evident the past few weeks is that the Rays hold their post-season destiny in their own hands, and what’s certain is that we’ll know more at the end of this evening. If the Red Sox are going to destroy themselves tonight, let them. We can’t worry about that.
Last night was incredible, wasn’t it? Between the sixth inning triple play and the Matt Joyce seventh inning, three run blast, we have a lot to be excited for going into tonight’s game. With 90 wins under their belts, the Rays go into this final regular season battle with the Yankees.
A lot hinges on tonight’s game. At most, a wild-card spot can be won with a Rays win and a Red Sox loss. In the least, Tampa Bay will play the Red Sox one more time, tomorrow, if both the Rays and the Red Sox win or lose. I’d really prefer to not dwell on the other possibility.
In this series, Tampa Bay has not faced a Yankees team that has been willing to roll over and play dead. Looking at the starting lineup (below) it doesn’t look like they’ll play dead tonight either. The outcome, though, will be worth the challenge and I fully expect to watch a game full of tension and anxiety, one that finds the Rays grinding it out through all nine innings.
For your Tampa Bay Rays, a hungry and amped up David Price (12-13, 3.35 ERA) will take the mound, looking for his 13th win of the season. Price has gone 3-3 with four no decisions since August. You’ve got to believe that he’ll be in rare form tonight in what promises to be a huge start. Opposing him is rookie RHP Dellin Betances (0-0, 27.00 ERA) who the Rays faced last Thursday for 2/3 of an inning. Betances gave up no hits in his last (well, first really) appearance against the Rays, however he gave up two runs (both earned) on four walks.
With the Yankees first playoff game just around the corner, not to mention with Girardi’s wanton desire to keep his team in playoff form, I fully expect New Yorks A roster to be replaced somewhere in the middle of the game, especially if the Rays have a decent sized lead. The same theory holds true for the pitching staff. So c’mon Rays, let’s knock those guys out of the game earl!
Finally, just a reminder: The post-season ticket lottery is open. Also, tickets for tomorrow’s possible 4:05 one game playoff are available. You can apply for the ticket lottery and/or purchase your ticket here. Get out there and support your Tampa Bay Rays! As always, Go Rays! Also, Go O’s!
Tampa Bay Rays (90-71):
New York Yankees (97-64):