For starters, Rays vs. O's, after the fact
UPDATE, 5:39: Rays Maddon sent O's manager Buck Showalter "a nice bottle of red wine" as congratulations. ... Rodney said he was honored to be named the team MVP. ... Maddon said he found out they had been eliminated about 1:30 a.m. when his wife, Jaye, got a group text message sent from Julianna Zobrist to all the wives with the result of the Oakland game.
BREAKING: The Rays take the field for a meaningless game for the first time since the tail end of the 2009 season, having been officially eliminated around 1:15 a.m. this morning when Oakland beat Texas to clinch the last spot in the AL playoffs field.
The Rays, though, will stick with their regular lineup, manager Joe Maddon talking about the integrity of the game and wanting to "play it straight up" with the O's battling the Yankees for the AL East title.
In fact, Maddon said he didn't even check with 3B Evan Longoria about playing, just deciding they would stick with the main guys. He also said he would Fernando Rodney if needed to close tonight, though might reconsider on Wednesday if Rodney is still sitting on the best-ever ERA for a reliever, as he is percentage points under Dennis Eckersley's 1990 record of 0.61.