The Rays are already playing playoff baseball
This story is from Adam Berry’s Rays Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, Click here. And subscribe to receive it regularly in your inbox.
On the one hand, it seems almost unreasonably difficult compared to their non-American League East competition in the Wild Card race. The Mariners can practically waltz into October, for example, with their last series against the Angels, A’s (twice), Royals, Rangers and Tigers all far from the playoff table.
Meanwhile, the Rays are poised for the challenge: three games against the Yankees this weekend in the Bronx, nine against the Blue Jays, six against the Astros, three against the Guardians and just six against non- competitors in the Rangers and Red Sox. . That’s 12 games against the current division leaders and nine against a top Wild Card contender.
“I think that’s an advantage, isn’t it? If we win, we’re in,” Drew Rasmussen said earlier this week. “It’s in front of us, and it’s our job to show up in the court every day ready to play. We’ve beaten these teams down the stretch, there’s no doubt whether or not we’re So I think it’s a good place.
The Rays have no choice in the matter – the schedule is what it is – but it seems like the best prospect to take over the next four weeks. If they win, they will have played their way and won the place they will get. And if they win big, that means they could be playing their best baseball of the season before the most important game of the year.
“I feel like that’s what everybody wants to see. It’s like playoff baseball before playoff baseball,” Brandon Lowe said. playoffs, be in contention for a Wild Card spot. It makes baseball really fun to watch, and I think it’s really going to help us prepare for hopefully making a deep run in this playoff.
“We don’t play any game that doesn’t matter. We play games that are going to be 100%. The adrenaline is going to be on the rise, and every game right now means something.
There is a fun debate to be had over the best possible landing spot in the Wild Card field. The best Wild Card can put together a three-game series, and the No. 6 seed is on course to face the winner of AL Central, who could be a worse club on paper than the three Wild Card teams. no matter who wins. division race.
The one to avoid, clearly, is the No. 5 seed, as that would likely mean a three-game road streak in Seattle (starved for baseball’s playoff return and a brutal flight across the country after a long road trip to end the season) or Toronto (wild atmosphere, especially in October).
But that’s a conversation for another day. The Rays remain focused on the day ahead of them, with everything on the table – including a third consecutive AL East title – if they do what they think they can.
“I think every game from now on is going to be fun. Every team we face will be in a good environment,” Taylor Walls said. “Every game will count. Every game will have something at stake. We’re going to have to bring it, but we’re going to do it.