Yesterday, many were ready to cede the division to the Red Sox and any hopes of being a competive team in the playoffs. Last night’s game was a mere formality. Midnight was ready strike and the 2008 Rays were about to be permanently transformed back into a pumpkin. And then the 9th inning happened. Dan Johnson happened. Long flight with delays? No worries. No batting practice prior to the game? No worries. No major league at bats in 5 months? No worries. Come in to face one of the best closers in baseball and maybe the best fastball he has seen in months? No worries. He is the Red Bearded Bull. El Toro Rojo. He gives the ball wings.
And just like that the magic number is down to 12 and the Rays are back up 1.5 games. No matter what happens tonight, the Rays will still be in first place and at least 1 game up in the loss column.
And imagine if the Rays actually win tonight. What will they say if the Rays actually win this series in Fenway? What will they say if the Rays leave the series with a 2.5 game lead and up 3 in the loss column? Some will be quiet. Many will say it doesn’t matter to the Sox and their fans. They will say making the playoffs is all that matters.
For them…Just this video…