“I thought it was going to be a dogfight all the way,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “We had been in really good shape right up to that Angels series at home, and then we’ve kind of struggled a bit. However, you can look at the struggle now, but you can also look at the great body of work prior to that point that permits you to still be in great shape even though you’re struggling. Everybody fails to point that out also. I know we’ve struggled recently, but we’ve put ourselves in good shape to hopefully work through a struggle. And that’s what we plan on doing.”
In the Wild Card era (since 1995), never before have five teams competing for the same Wild Card spot been this close together this late in the year.
Given that the Rays’ best shot to reach the postseason appears to be as the AL’s Wild Card, Maddon said, “I love it right now” when asked about having a second Wild Card team in each league.