Click on above images to be taken to full standings, boxscores or schedule…
THE GOOD: With several pitching roles still up in the air, Troy Percival looked healthy in 1 inning of work and will likely be on the post-season roster. David Price looked solid coming in with the bases loaded and 1 out and not allowing a run…The Rays first round opponent is still undecided. The White Sox will play a make up game today versus the Tigers. A win will force a 1-game playoff against the Twins tomorrow. With the possibility of a both teams playing tomorrow, the Rays’ potential opponent will not have a fresh bullpen and will not be able to setup their rotation for the ALDS. With the Twins likely to start Nick Blackburn, the first two pitchers in the ALDS figure to be Nelson Liriano and Kevin Slowey. The White Sox have been working with a 4-man rotation. Gavin Floyd will start today and John Danks would likely go tomorrow. Javier Vazquez and Mark Buerhle would be the starters for the first 2 games of the ALDS.
THE BAD: With Joe Maddon wanting to see how Edwin Jackson would look in relief, Jackson, blew a 2-run lead in the 9th and may have pitched his way off the post-season roster…The Rays will open the ALDS series at 2:30 on Thursday and will play game 2 at 6:00 on Friday. Yes, it sucks. But really, did you expect anything different? Nationally, this series has the least draw. There are just too many big market teams in the playoffs.
THE TELLING: Starters for the first 2 games will be James Shields and Scott Kazmir, although the exact order is still undecided as is the rest of the post-season roster which will be finalized this afternoon…The Rays are the first team not from Boston or New York to win the AL East since 1997. The Rays finished the season having spent 111 days in first place. In the first 10 seasons they spent 20 days in first place combined. The Rays are just the 2nd MLB team and only 7th team from one of the four major sports to finish in first place the year after having the league’s worst record. They are the first team ever to win 97 games in the first season following a streak of 10 consecutive losing seasons. They are only the 10th team to improve at least 30 games over the previous season.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- On Friday we linked to a report that claimed Rocco Baldelli had been diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. While Baldelli’s condition is one of the 43 diseases covered by the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Rocco has done a PSA for the MDA, mitochondrial myopathy is in fact not a form of muscular dystrophy…We are not a real doctor. We just play one when we are teaching undergrads. [The Heater]
- Carl Crawford was reinstated from the DL and appeared as a pinch runner on Friday night. He has had two successful batting practice sessions and will participate in an instructional league game today. Crawford still has hopes of being ready to return to the lineup in time for Thursday’s game 1 of the ALDS. [The Heater]
- David Price has reworked his warmup routine so that he can get ready quicker for work out of the bullpen…Also, Jason Bartlett continues to battle a cold. [Tampa Tribune]
- The Rays were happy they will play game 1 on Thursday, receiving the extra day of rest before the start of the series. [St. Pete Times]
- David Chalk of Bugs and Cranks has started his playoff edition of “Your Team Ain’t S#!t” compared to the Rays…Chalk took a lot of heat for this series prior to the season. Only 2 teams finished with better records than the Rays and the Rays went 9-3 combined against the Angels (6-3) and Cubs (3-0) [Bugs and Cranks]
- We love the title of this piece. Apparently the Red Sox conceded the division title as if they decided they did not want it. [Bugs and Cranks]
- Outs Per Swing has a collection of quotes from the players in reaction to winning the AL East. [Outs Per Swing]
- 1,200 fans greeted the Rays upon their return to St. Pete-Clearwater airport…Anybody else surprised the Cowbell Kid hasn’t cut that blue afro into a mohawk? [Tampa Tribune]
- Want to see a picture of Jonny Gomes drinking beer out of an athletic cup? Neither did we. [Bugs and Cranks]
- Bill Chastain says the Rays are built for postseason success. [MLB]
- When somebody tries to rip apart Marc Topkin’s subjective column by starting their own piece with a subjective statement like “Posnanski – best sportswriter in the world”, which is then followed up by several more opinions, it takes away any credibility from the rest of the argument. [DRays Bay]