Yet another incredible victory for the Rays tonight to reduce their magic number to one and only one. The Red Sox won their game, but Tampa Bay is just so close to that division title that they need not care about them anymore. Getting their own business done will take care of it, and take good care it did last night. In one of the greatest comebacks of the season, just when the Rays had once again lost all hope of winning, they fought back from a 60 second inning deficit to roll over the Orioles 116. Edwin Jackson surrendered five first inning runs to send his team to what appeared to be an early defeat. However, a five run fourth inning brought them back within close range; two innings later, they took the lead on Akinori Iwamura’s two run triple and never looked back. Iwamura, B.J. Upton and Fernando Perez had stolen bases (Perez stole two) that helped eliminate double play possibilities and open up the offense. It was much the same as last night’s second doubleheader game, only the comeback took place at an earlier point in the game. Whatever was left of the bullpen Chad Bradford and Trever Miller held down the fort well enough to seal what turned out to be a surprisingly easy finish. Even though Ramon Hernandez and Iwamura collided on what might have been a double play, both injury and scoreboard damage were averted.
ESPN is finally reporting, 24 hours after the fact, that Rays playoff tickets did indeed sell out before going on sale to the general public. Thanks for catching up with the rest of the world and telling the slow ones the good news. The tarped off seats will remain closed for the Division Series, at the (asinine) discretion of Major League Baseball. No word on the ALCS if need be, but I’m sure they’ll be changing their minds after that last underestimation. The World Series has already been guaranteed to have every seat in the dome opened up if the Rays get that far.
To follow up on my total thrashing of ESPN’s Josh Elliott, I have actually come across a quote where he says he likes the Rays. And another one basically stating that he wants to stop talking about the Yankees once they are out of the playoff race, which they now are. Plus he is not northeastern, but rather from Los Angeles. Had I entered these more specific search queries in my earlier research, I would have been a little lighter on him. And like I said before, there are people there who are worse pure anchors than he is. Though he should still refresh himself on the current state of the Rays and their expanding fanbase, at which point all will be square.
The Rays travel now to Detroit and play a day game right after traveling, still having to finish off a schedule made for the Devil Rays over a year ago. The Tigers have fallen into last place with losses to the Royals, and for our sake let’s keep it that way. Scott Kazmir has a golden opportunity to win that division title where they deserve to win it, right there on the field. Until this is finally done, go Rays.