On an emotional night in the Bronx, where fans saw Mariano Rivera’s final game at Yankee Stadium, the Tampa Bay Rays won their seventh straight. Alex Cobb pitched for seven innings, allowing no runs and three hits, leading his team to a 4-0 victory. Tampa Bay is now 12-3 in their last fifteen games, and appear to be red-hot heading towards October. They have completed sweeps of two AL East competitors in a row, and are on their way to clinching one of the coveted Wild Card spots.
The magic number for the Rays is down to two games, and with a three-game series against the last place Toronto Blue Jays to start tonight, the Rays seem to be in a pretty good position. The Rays have been able to last in an extremely competitive Wild Card race that has spanned over the course of the last moth of the season.
With the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, and Kansas City Royals all eliminated from playoff contention, it is now a three-team race for the top two spots. The Rays hold the first spot with a one game lead over the Cleveland Indians, and the Texas Rangers sit one game behind them as we head into the last three games of the season.
Looking ahead, the Rays should be very confident in the way that they have played over the course of the past couple of weeks. This was a team that looked as though it was going to self-destruct towards the end of the season, but got hot at precisely the right time. After their performances against both the Orioles and the Yankees, Tampa Bay has sent the message to the rest of the American League that they will be contenders in the postseason. Before that, however, the Rays will want to focus on finishing first in the Wild Card standings in order to host their one game playoff at Tropicana Field.