A funny thing happened on the Rays road to the 2013 American League Playoffs. They simply had to win a final weekend series in Toronto against the last place Blue Jays. So, here is the thing, the Blue Jays have won two games and unless the Rays win today they could very well miss the post season all together.
But the key here still remains with the Rays, if they win they will keep playing baseball after today. Manager Joe Maddon, the man who is considered by many to be the best manager in the American League, if not all of baseball needs to calm his team down. Whatever magic that he has left needs – to be summoned up today- with one of his best pitcher’s Matt Moore needing to have his best stuff to get this win.
What happens if…?
If Cleveland beats Minnesota, and Tampa Bay and Texas remain tied after Sunday’s games, the Rays and Rangers would meet in a one-game playoff for the second wild-card spot Monday in Arlington. Should the Rays win Sunday, and Indians and Rangers both lose, Tampa Bay would host Cleveland in Wednesday’s wild-card game based on a 4-2 regular-season record between the clubs.
If all three finish the regular season tied, the tiebreaking scenario would have the Indians hosting the Rays on Monday, with the winner earning one wild-card berth and the loser playing at Texas on Tuesday for the final spot.
In his post season press conference yesterday at the Rogers Centre in Toronto the Rays skipper was still up-beat.
“We’ve been here before, we’ve been in these moments,” manager Joe Maddon said after Saturday’s 7-2 loss. “We never do things seemingly easily so let’s just play (Sunday) and see what happens.
“I’m totally confident in our guys. I really believe that you’re going to see the best side of (scheduled starter) Matt Moore (Sunday).”
Moore (16-4, 3.23 ERA) is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA against the Blue Jays this season, and owns a 2.97 ERA in six career starts in the series.
Tampa Bay will be facing one of their own this afternoon as the Jays send St. Petersburg native Todd Redmond who comes into today’s game 4-2, 3.77. Redmond, whose parents are Rays season ticket holder’s is looking forward to bouncing his hometown team out of the playoff hunt.
“We have a chance to knock them out, that’s baseball and hopefully we can pull it off,” said Redmond. So, on this this 162 game of the season the Rays and their fans hope that this not the last one of the season.
Redmond, who allowed a homer to Longoria in six innings of a 2-1, 10-inning loss at Tropicana Field on Aug. 18, is 3-0 with a 2.73 ERA in his last five starts overall. He’s yielded two or fewer runs in each of the last three, most recently Tuesday when he gave up a pair of solo homers in 5 2/3 innings of a 3-2, 10-inning victory at Baltimore.
“I didn’t have my best stuff compared to my last couple of outings, but I was able to battle,” Redmond told the Blue Jays’ official website. “That’s part of pitching, you have to learn how to deal with the ups and downs.”
With two hits and three RBIs on Saturday, Toronto’s Adam Lind is 8 for 18 (.444) with six RBIs in his last five games versus Tampa Bay.
He’s 1 for 7 with three strikeouts against Moore