For starters, Rays at White Sox, with no margin left
UPDATE, 3:01: Though Maddon said he has confidence in Moore pitching well today, he also acknowledged "the leash is not very long" today, with RHP Chris Archer a likely candidate for duty. ... Maddon said he wanted to go as righthanded as he could, and that S-Rod has had good at-bats against some lefties, so that's why he wanted him in there. ... C Jose Molina was available for late inning duty on Friday, and is again today, and could be ready to return to the lineup as soon as Sunday.
UPDATE, 1:59: Rodriguez said he was told Friday he may play today; it appears to be his first ever start as DH - He has five plate appearances, 0-for-2 with three walks. ... For whatever it's worth, there was the usual amount of noise and banter in the Rays clubhouse.
UPDATE, 1:28: Rays go all righthanded with lineup vs. Sale, including S-Rod at DH.
The Rays take on the White Sox this afternoon (4 p.m. on Fox) all but mathematically needing a win to stay alive in the AL wild-card chase.
With their loss to the White Sox on Friday, and wins by the three teams they are chasing - the Orioles, A's and Angels, the Rays find themselves in quite the predicament:
Four games behind the Orioles, who have the top wild-card spot, and three behind the A's, who have the second, along with one behind the Angels, and with only five to play.
Though they can't officially be eliminated today - with a "tragic" number of 3 - the sense in their clubhouse Friday night was that there was no room for any more losses.
"They're all must-wins at this point,'' Evan Longoria said.
Here's a breakdown, per the Rays:
They can stave off elimination in the AL Wild Card race (and force at least a tie-breaker) if:
They go 5-0 and two of the following three happen:
Orioles go 1-4 or worse, A’s go 2-3 or worse and the Angels go 4-1 or worse.
They go 4-1 and two of the following three happen:
Orioles go 0-5, A’s go 1-4 or worse and the Angels go 3-2 or worse.
They got 3-2. and both of the following happen:
Angels go 2-3 or worse, A’s go 0-5.
Technically, the Rays will be eliminated from the AL East race with their next loss or the Yankees' next win.
LHP Matt Moore will be on the mound for the Rays, trying to break out of an extended skid in which he has gone five starts without a win, with a 6.14 ERA along the way, and in his last three has failed to go deeper then four innings. And the Sox are starting Cy Young candidate Chris Sale, a Lakeland born lefty who struck out 15 Rays in a May 28 game.
Lineups when available.