Tag:Rays
Posted on: September 26, 2011 10:27 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 1:11 am
 

Playoff Race: AL wild card is tied



By Matt Snyder


A lead that was nine games heading into September is now at zero. The Boston Red Sox lost Monday night in Baltimore, while the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Yankees in Tropicana Field, meaning the two ballclubs are now tied for the AL wild card.

The Angels were eliminated with a 4-3 loss, so it's just the two AL East teams.

Boston Red Sox
89-71
Remaining schedule: 2 @ BAL
Tuesday pitching matchup: Erik Bedard (5-9, 3.50) vs. Zach Britton (11-10, 4.40) of the Orioles. Britton has been terrible against the Red Sox this season while Bedard couldn't get through three against the Orioles last time out.

Tampa Bay Rays
89-71
Remaining schedule: 2 v. NYY
Tuesday pitching matchup: Jeremy Hellickson (13-10, 2.90) vs. Bartolo Colon (8-10, 4.02) of the Yankees. Rookie of the Year candidate Hellickson has a 3.93 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in three starts against the Yankees this year, but he was pretty good (seven innings, two earned runs) last time he saw them, which was his most recent start. The Rays have had their way with Colon this season, piling up 22 hits and 11 earned runs in 15 innings (6.60 ERA). The Rays have won all three games in which Colon started against them.

If the two clubs end up tied after these final two games, they'll play a one-game playoff in Tropicana Field Thursday night, due to the Rays winning the season series.

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Posted on: September 26, 2011 5:41 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2011 5:42 pm
 

On Deck: Big drama for season's final days

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

James ShieldsRays of hope: "Big Game" James Shields has another chance to live up to his nickname, as the Rays start the day a game behind the Red Sox in the wild card standings. The Rays were nine games behind the Red Sox on Sept. 2, and if they are able to overtake the Red Sox, it would be the largest September deficit made up in the history of the game. Before Sunday, the last time the Rays were within a game of the wild card before Sunday was June 29. Shields faced the Yankees in his last start, allowing four runs on six hits in 7 1/3 innings last Wednesday. He faced the Red Sox twice in a row before facing the Yankees (going 1-1) and faced the Rangers in back-to-back starts before that. He averaged eight innings and 2.5 runs per start in both of his second starts. Yankees at Rays, 7:10 p.m. ET

Cliff LeeUnwelcome sight: You're holding on to a one-game lead and hoping to stave off a collapse, who is the last person you want to see on the mound? If Cliff Lee isn't your first answer, he may be in the top five -- especially if you're hitting .229/.292/.350 as a team against left-handers, like the Braves are in 2011. And in the Braves' corner? A rookie making his seventh career start and coming off his first big-league win. Randall Delgado, a 21-year-old right-hander, has been impressive in his six starts, but has only pitched as many as six innings once. He pitched five shutout innings last week in a win over the Marlins. Phillies at Braves, 7:10 p.m. ET

Lance BerkmanClosing fast: No player has thrived against his former team quite like St. Louis right fielder Lance Berkman, who returns for his seventh game in Houston this season. In his first six games back at Minute Maid Park? He's hit .480/.519/1.160 with five homers and 12 RBI. In eight total games agianst the Astros, he's hitting .429/.484/1.036. The Cardinals hope he stays that hot, as they enter the game just a game behind the Braves for the National League wild card. Houston holds baseball's worst record and are 12-14 in their last 26 games. St. Louis lefty Jaime Garcia is 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA in four starts this month, with St. Louis winning all four games he's started. St. Louis will face Houston's best starter, Wandy Rodriguez. In his only start against the Cardinals this season, Rodriguez allowed just one earned run on five hits in seven innings for a win on July 28 in St. Louis. Cardinals at Astros, 8:05 p.m. ET

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Posted on: September 25, 2011 11:47 pm
 

Playoff race: Red Sox split DH, up 1/2 game


By Evan Brunell

During the first inning of the night game, we reached the point with the Red Sox's collapse where it was comical. Boston unfailingly kept finding new  -- and strangely familiar -- ways to choke away games. While the first game did go the Yankees way as expected, the second game saw a Boston victory. John Lackey surprisingly held on for six innings after gifting three in the first and the team rode a 14th-inning Jacoby Ellsbury homer to a 7-4 victory. That keeps Boston a game ahead of the Rays.

One would think that the Red Sox would still be in prime position to win the wild card thanks to facing the Orioles next, while the Rays draw the Yankees as the regular season comes to a close. But Boston dropped three of four to Baltimore prior to the Yankees series, so nothing can be assured. (The Rays, to be fair to Boston, also dropped three of four to the Yanks last weekend as well.)

The Rays did their duty Sunday, defeating the Blue Jays 5-2. Upton hit his 23rd homer of the year and is heating up at the right time -- he has a .333/.423/.583 line in September.

Boston Red Sox
89-70
Remaining schedule: 3 @ BAL
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 50 percent

Tampa Bay Rays
88-71, 1 GB
Remaining schedule: 3 v. NYY
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 50 percent

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Posted on: September 25, 2011 12:16 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Montero leads Yankees

Jesus Montero

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jesus Montero, Yankees: The Yankees rookie is certainly making his case to be not only on the team's playoff roster, but also to be the team's starting designated hitter come Friday. Montero went 3 for 4, knocking in four with his fourth homer of the season in Saturday's 9-1 victory over the Red Sox. Montero is hitting .346/.414/.635 in 15 games since being called up on Sept. 1.

Alex Torres, Rays: The rookie reliever was trust into action when left-hander Jeff Niemann was pulled after allowing two runs in the first inning of the Rays' game against the Blue Jays. Torres threw five shutout innings, allowing three hits, striking out five and walking one in Tampa Bay's crucial 6-2 victory over Toronto. The 23-year-old left-hander was making just his fourth big-league appearance and his first multi-inning outing, earning his first win. The Rays got Torres along with Sean Rodriguez (and Matt Sweeney) in the 2009 trade of Scott Kazmir to Anaheim. 

Kyle Lohse, Cardinals: Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said Lohse would be his starter in a one-game playoff for the wild card if it comes to that on Thursday. Lohse gave him every reason to stand by that decision in Saturday's 2-1 win against the Cubs. The right-hander didn't pick up the decision, but he did have a season-high eight strikeouts in seven innings. After giving up a run on three hits in the first inning, Lohse gave up just three more hits and didn't allow a runner in scoring position over his final six innings. Lohse (14-8) lowered his ERA to 3.39.


Carlos Marmol, Cubs: The very best closers give a fan a sense of confidence -- when Mariano Rivera takes the mound, Yankees fans know the game is wrapped up. When Brian Wilson comes in, Giants fans can raise their beer (or, well, wine glass, it is the Giants). But when Carlos Marmol comes in, Cubs fans either reach for Pepto Bismol or a case of Old Style to help them forget. Marmol not only blew his 10th save of the season on Saturday, but he did it in a typical frustrating style -- after giving up a hit, he walked three batters to bring in the tying run and then uncorked a wild pitch to let in the winning run. 

Carl Crawford, Red Sox: Already a goat, if the Red Sox complete their epic collapse, his drop of a Russell Martin line drive in the second inning of Saturday's 9-1 loss to the Yankees could be the defining play of the team's disappointing finish to the 2011 season. If Crawford makes the catch, Andruw Jones would have been doubled up easily at second to end the second inning, down just a run. Instead, New York scored six runs in the inning, two on Crawford's play and then three more on Derek Jeter's homer. Crawford, batting second, drove in the Red Sox's only run, but it came in the seventh when Boston was already down 9-0. It was too little too late.

Justin Verlander, Tigers: It's not often you can put Verlander here, and it was little more than a bad outing, but it's just so shocking to see Verlander on this side of the ledger. Verlander, who should unanimously win the Cy Young Award, failed in his bid to become the first 25-game winner in the majors since Bob Welch won 26 in 1990. Verlander gave up five runs on eight hits in seven innings and had his streak of 12 consecutive starts with a win snapped as Detroit fell 6-5 to Baltimore.

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Posted on: September 24, 2011 10:10 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2011 10:12 pm
 

Playoff race: Rays could catch Boston on Sunday

Carl Crawford

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Rays could catch the Red Sox as soon as Sunday following Saturday's 6-2 victory over the Blue Jays and the Red Sox's 9-1 loss to the Yankees. Tampa Bay trails Boston by just 1.5 games after Saturday's games.

Wade Davis takes the hill for Tampa Bay against Brett Cecil, while the Red Sox send Tim Wakefield and John Lackey to the mound for their doubleheader in New York against A.J. Burnett and Ivan Nova. A Rays win and a Yankees sweep would tie the teams in the wild card standings with just three games remaining.

If you're a Red Sox fan, it looks like now's the time to get nervous (if you weren't already).

Here's what's left for both teams:

Boston Red Sox
88-69
Remaining schedule: 2 @ NYY, 3 @BAL
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 88.4 percent

Tampa Bay Rays
87-71, 1.5 GB
Remaining schedule: 1 v. TOR, 3 v. NYY
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 10 percent

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Posted on: September 24, 2011 1:32 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Gio buries Angels



By Matt Snyder


Gio Gonzalez, A's. The Angels desperately needed this game and they had their ace on the hill. All-Star Game starter Jered Weaver worked 8 1/3 innings, allowing just two runs, but he was outdueled by Gonzalez. The A's left-hander allowed only three hits and one run in 7 1/3 innings and pretty much ended the Angels' postseason chances with a 3-1 A's win. They are eliminated in the AL West and have an absolutely minute chance in the wild card.

Ryan Braun, Brewers. MVP? He might well win it on the strength of Friday night's three-run bomb in the eighth, as the Brewers clinched the NL Central.

Jim Thome, Indians. Prior to the game, the Indians announced that they would erect a statue of Thome in Progressive Field. During the game, he reminded everyone why. In a 6-5 victory, Thome went 3-for-4 with a double, home run and three RBI.



David Price, Rays. The Rays really needed this one. Sure, the offense was stifled in a masterful performance by Blue Jays' pitcher Brandon Morrow, but Price didn't have a memorable night. At least not in a good way. He allowed five runs in six innings. The box score only shows two of those runs being earned, but that's because of two throwing errors Price himself made in a three-run third inning. And the Rays now have a very tough task in the wild-card race

Drew Pomeranz, Rockies. The 22-year-old rookie looked great in his first two big-league starts, but he got a wakeup call Friday night against the worst team in the majors. The Houston Astros lit him up for seven hits and six earned runs in just two innings.

The White Sox. Well, let's see. Bruce Chen absolutely owns them -- as he spun yet another gem against the Sox Friday night. The White Sox only managed two hits all game. Their pitching staff also allowed 18 hits and 11 runs, including nine extra-base hits to the Royals. Oh, and starting pitcher Zach Stewart also committed two errors. So other than a poor showing with offense, defense and pitching, it was a good night. Right?

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Posted on: September 24, 2011 12:56 am
 

Playoff Race: Red Sox win, despite not playing

By Matt Snyder

The Red Sox -- who are still in position to make the playoffs, by the way -- didn't have a game Friday night. They were washed out at Yankee Stadium and will have to play a doubleheader Sunday. Still, the night ended up being a very good one for them. Both the Rays and the Angels lost, inching the Red Sox closer to winning the wild card and avoiding a historic collapse.

Let's break it down.

Boston Red Sox
88-68
Remaining schedule: 3 @ NYY, 3 @ BAL
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 95.2 percent

Tampa Bay Rays
86-71, 2.5 GB
Remaining schedule: 2 v. TOR, 3 v. NYY
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 3.7 percent

Los Angeles Angels
85-72, 3.5 GB
Remaining schedule: 2 v. OAK, 3 v. TEX
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 1.1 percent

I'd say we can write off the Angels. They need to win out and have the Red Sox go 1-5, while also leap-frogging the Rays. The Rays have a pretty big uphill battle themselves, but if they won out -- which isn't a ridiculous notion, actually -- there's a shot. The focus has to just be on winning every game. The odds say this thing is over, though.

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Posted on: September 23, 2011 4:52 pm
 

On Deck: Braves face Strasburg

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

Stephen StrasburgBraves' tall task: Stephen Strasburg gets to pitch in a pennant race -- well, sort of. The Braves are trying to hold on to their two-game lead in the National League wild card race, but St. Louis' loss on Thursday gave Atlanta a little breathing room. With six games remaining, the Braves have a 75 percent shot of hanging on to the wild card, according to Coolstandings.com. It can't be too good to see Strasburg on the hill in such an important game. Strasburg hasn't recorded a victory since returning from Tommy John surgery, but that's through no fault of his own. In three starts, the right-hander has allowed two runs on nine hits in 14 innings, while striking out 11 batters and walking none. Atlanta beat Strasburg last season, getting to him for six hits and four runs (three earned) in 6 1/3 innings. At that point, it was the most any team had scored against Strasburg. Tim Hudson, 15-10 with a 3.19 ERA, starts for Atlanta. Braves at Nationals, 7:05 p.m ET

Back home: Not only does it rhyme, but the Jays-Rays matchup has quite a bit on the line. For the first time in nearly two weeks, the Rays are back home. Tampa went 5-6 on their 11-game road trip to Baltimore, Boston and New York. Tampa Bay is slightly better at home (42-33, .560 winning percentage) than on the road (44-37, .543 winning percentage) and have won seven of their last eight games at Tropicana Field. David Price takes the mound for Tampa Bay after leaving his last start when he was hit in the chest by a ball. Toronto right-hander Brandon Morrow is coming off an eight-inning scoreless performance against the Yankees, getting his first win since Aug. 17. Blue Jays at Rays, 7:10 p.m. ET

Last chance: With a win on Friday, the Diamondbacks will clinch the National League West, but the game may be more important to the Giants. San Francisco probably needs to not only win the rest of its six remaining games, but also get some help along the way for a shot at the National League wild card. A loss tonight and the Giants not only are realistically out of the wild card race, but they're also mathematically out of the NL West race. Matt Cain is 4-1 with a 3.97 ERA in five starts against Arizona this season and 2-0 with a 4.26 ERA at Chase Field. Arizona left-hander Joe Saunders was one out away from a shutout in his last start, Sunday in San Diego, and has won his last three starts. His last loss was to the Giants, giving up four runs (three earned) on five hits in 5 1/3 innings on Sept. 2. Giants at Diamondbacks, 9:05 p.m. ET

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com