That is the scorecard from an ESPN writer who was at the stadium tonight. If you add in the three game series that was played between the Rays and the Yankees earlier this month, the Rays just won a seven game series against the Yankees with David Price winning the clinching game against C.C. Sabathia in a place where Sabathia rarely loses. In fact, Sabathia went 21 consecutive starts in Yankee Stadium without losing and has now lost two starts in a row in his own back yard.
The goal for the Rays in New York was to at least earn a split, and the fact they did that tonight after those disastrous first two games speaks to the mental toughness of this club in 2010. Every single starter reached base tonight and every one of them scored tonight as well. Sure, B.J. Upton earned a hat trick tonight and David Price put 12 runners on base tonight in just six innings, but winning cures all and that is about the only fault one could find in this effort tonight.
Price got the win and improved his record to 18-6 and may have very well clinched at least second place in the eyes of the Cy Young voters after watching Sabathia put up a giant stinker. I said this the last time those two pitchers matched up and I’ll say it again here – neither of them should win the Cy Young this year. To me, that award belongs to Felix Hernandez who beats both of them in any pitching metric you want to pick except the one area he cannot control – wins. Price put on 12 baserunners tonight, gave up three runs, and won. Hernandez gave up two hits today and lost 1-0. Life is not fair but Felix Hernandez deserves that hardware.
The Rays will be the only team in the American League to be above .500 against every team in their own division as well as be above .500 against all three divisions of the American League. The Rays are tied in the loss column with the Yankees and have ten games left while the Yankees have nine and the Rays have the tie-breaker with tonight’s win in New York. If the Yankees go 6-3 in their final six games against the Red Sox and three against the Blue Jays, the Rays simply need to go 6-4 against the Mariners, Orioles, and Royals. Simply put, they need to continue to match the Yankees win for win but can lose on more than the Yankees.
With tonight’s win, the Rays’ magic number for the playoffs is now just down to four games. I would prefer that to happen early next week because I’m now going to be a huge Red Sox fan for the next two weeks and I have already booked an hour long chemical scrub to get the filth off me in early October. Let the haters hate on the Rays attendance while you focus on the fact this club continues to show outstanding resolve in the face of adversity and they just might when the whole f’n thing this season.