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THE GOOD: No doubt wins. Game 1 of the double-header was just one of those ho-hum never-in-doubt wins. Even when the Rays fell behind 2-0 the game never seemed in doubt. The Rays have had a few of those this season. Not a lot, but certainly more than the first 10 years combined. In the second game of the double-header the Rays struggled for the first 7 innings with a triple-A lineup. But then Joe Maddon went into the clubhouse and woke some of the regulars, and rallied to score 6 in the 8th for the first-ever sweep of a double-header in franchise history. It should be noted that baseball no longer schedules double-headers and rainouts at the Trop are rare. We are assuming that every double-header in franchise history has been on the road [Ed. note: See comments]…According to Baseball Prospectus the odds of winning the division are now 95.5%.
THE BAD: The Red Sox beat the Indians and Cliff Lee to clinch at least a wild card. Of course, the win also eliminate the New York Yankees.
THE TELLING: The Twins beat the White Sox last night in the first game of 3 head-to-head. The win pulls the Twins within 1.5 (2 in the loss column). The Twins most likely need to win the final 2 games to have a shot at winning the division and facing the Rays in the first round…The first two games of the ALDS have sold out. Somehow, some writer is still going to find a way to criticize Rays fans…If the Rays win their final 5 games, they will finish with 100 wins.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- We have been told by the Rays that opening the Trop for road playoff games and broadcasting road playoff games on the jumbotron is “being considered.”…We suspect that they are trying to first gauge fan interest. So if you would want to watch any of the road playoff games at the Trop, we suggest contacting the team.
- At this point it sounds like Joe Maddon is leaning towards keeping Troy Percival off the post-season roster, for at least the first round…Percival is expected to rejoin the club Thursday in Detroit. [Tampa Tribune]
“We’ll just have to make sure that he is healthy,” Maddon said. “The big thing with the role that he would play would be that he would be able to come back on back-to-back days, and he and I have already talked about that.”…The manager also said he and Percival already have had a heart-to-heart discussion about the pitcher’s status and Percival is well aware of the situation.
- David Price’s position on the post-season roster may also depend on whether Joe Maddon believes he can pitch on back-to-back days. [St. Pete Times]
- Carl Crawford swung a bat for the first time since surgery on his finger, hitting off a tee. He reported no pain, but admitted he will be a “little nervous” the first time he tries to swing hard. Joe Maddon says he will wait to get a full report from the trainers before predicting when CC might return. [MLB]
- Marc Lancaster lays out a couple of scenarios for the playoff rotation that we had not previously considered…Our question: Is it really important to Joe Maddon that the pitchers stay on normal 4-days rest, or will Maddon take the opportunity to give his young arms an extra day or two before their first playoff start? [Rays Report]
- Brian Anderson came to Spring Training hoping to revive his pitching career. Instead he blew out his elbow and retired. Now, Joe Maddon says Anderson has been “invaluable” to the team this season and is going to make a good pitching coach someday. [USA Today]
- Evan Longoria made the Twins pitching staff his bitch, and Oh, it’s THOSE GIRLS have t-shirts to prove it. [Oh. it’s THOSE GIRLS]