It shouldn’t be so damn hard for the Rays to scratch out a few runs night in and night out and win a pile of games. Tonight at Texas was a classic example. Alexi Ogando struggled with his command. B.J. Upton takes a fast ball to the ribs. Everybody stays patient at the plate. John Jaso fights off a two-strike fastball. And, poof, two quick runs for James Shields, who jumped his record to 13-10 (2.84 ERA).
Shields not having at least four more wins will go down as one of the saddest memories of this season.
But the Rays sit 7 1/2 games back of the Yankees for the Wild Card, and there’s plenty of hope to go around if you don’t look at the Yanks’ schedule. Ten of the Yanks’ next 14 are against the Mariners, Jays and Orioles. But the scoreboard watching is still a blast and still worthwhile.
The Rays finished August 18-10. They’re surely capable of a September like that, which means the bad guys would roughly have to play .500 ball or less for the Rays to work a late-season miracle.
For now, Joe will settle for a series win in the Texas swelter — probably the first “must-win game” of the season.