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Rays at Royals, with a simple plan: Win and be champs



UPDATE, 1:21: Rays manager Joe Maddon had fallen asleep watching the Susan Sarandon movie Thelma & Louise on Saturday night and didn't know until his Blackberry buzzed with a text message from executive VP Andrew Friedman that the Yankees had lost the second game of their doubleheader and the Rays had regained control of their division title hopes.

"I was very pleased to see that again, to be able to control our own destiny, come out win a game today and become the AL East champs, that would be wonderful,'' Maddon said. "That's something we've been shooting for since the beginning of the season. To be able to do it two out of three years is a wonderful achievement and really speaks wonderfully for the franchise - the scouting and development, etc., it's not just about us, it speaks to everybody. So for a bunch of different reasons, and of course the spoils of homefield advantage.'' 

Maddon said he wanted to rest rookie C John Jaso today, and also see Dioner Navarro one more time as they decide whether to carry three catchers in the postseason.

Courtesy of, here are the lineups from Fenway Park:

RED SOX (88-73)
Patterson 2B
Lowrie SS
Drew RF
Ortiz DH
Hall 3B
Kalish CF
Varitek C
Nava LF
Anderson 1B
Pitching: RHP John Lackey (13-11, 4.47)

YANKEES (95-66)
Gardner LF
Jeter SS
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Cano DH
Swisher RF
Posada C
Thames L
Pena 2B
Pitching: Dustin Moseley (4-3, 4.77)

UPDATE, 12:03: Rays lineup for potential clincher:
Zobrist 2b,
Upton cf,
Crawford lf,
Johnson 3b,
Joyce rf,
Pena 1b,
Hawpe dh,
Brignac ss,
Navarro c
Davis p

After 161 games, the Rays enter the final day of the season with a simple plan: win their game and win the American League East title.

The Rays and Yankees are tied at 94-66 - marking the 25th day of the season they have shared the top spot - and the Rays have the benefit of the tiebreaker (by winning the season series), so they control their fate. Plus, they have an alternate route, because if both the Rays and Yankees lose the Rays also would be champs.

This is the ninth eighth time since the 1969 launch of divisional play that two teams are tied going into the final day of the season.  And if you're wondering, the reason there doesn't have to be a playoff game is that since both teams have already qualified for the postseason - with the other being the wild card - they just use the tiebreaker.

The Rays are looking for their second AL East title in three years.


[Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 12:16am]


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