For starters, Rays vs. Yankees, with an eye on the scoreboard
The Rays go into the first of their final three games tonight against the Yankees trailing the Red Sox by one game in the wild-card race.
That means the Rays need to win one more of their final three games against the Yankees than the Red Sox do against Baltimore to force a tie (and a one-game playoff Thursday at the Trop) or two more games to win the wild-card outright.
Here are the scenarios for tonight:
Rays win and Red Sox win: Lead remains 1, Rays need to win one or two and need Sox to lose at least one to force a tie.
Rays win and Red Sox lose: Teams are tied, Rays need to win match what Sox do to force tie, or win one more to win wild-card.
Rays lose and Red Sox win: Rays need to win out and need Sox to lose last two to force a tie.
The coolstandings.com website, which runs extensive computer simulations of the season, gives the Rays an 11.5 percent chance of winning the wild-card.
The Rays will have James Shields, their top pitcher, on the mound, and the Yankees are using rookie fill-in Hector Noesi.
The Rays had a similar matchup last Wednesday in the first game of their doubleheader, and lost the game 4-2.
Here are some notes on the Red Sox game courtesy of Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe:
RED SOX (89-70)
Pitching: RHP Josh Beckett (13-6, 2.70)
Pitching: RHP Tommy Hunter (4-4, 4.86)
Notes: The Sox start the day one game up on the Rays with three to play in the wild card race. ... Beckett has been dominant all season. But the Orioles handle him well. In three starts against Baltimore, Beckett has allowed 13 earned runs on 21 hits and three walks over 18.1 innings. He is 1-1. That includes giving up six runs on seven hits over 7.1 innings last Wednesday. ... Hunter started that game for Baltimore and allowed four runs on nine hits over 6.2 innings. ... The Sox are 9-6 against Baltimore. ... The Orioles are 13-12 in September and 25-27 since August 1. ... The Sox are 23-30 since Aug. 1.