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Thanks for chatting with Marc Topkin

Sweep_2 The Rays are off today, but Times beat writer Marc Topkin talked baseball in a live chat from noon-1 p.m.

So what now?

The Rays just completed a stunning sweep of the Red Sox, winning three consecutive tense games before rollicking crowds at the Trop, and have improved to a major-league best 52-32. The 20 games over .500 is a franchise high, and so is the size of their lead -- 3-1/2 games, with the Sox opening a four-game series in New York tonight. By the way, the 3-1/2 games the Sox are out of first place is their largest deficit since the end of the 2006 season.

The Rays -- in theory -- should have it easier for a while, with eight of their 10 games before the All-Star break against the struggling Royals and Indians (and two against the Yankees). And after the break, they play 10 of their first 13 against the Royals and Blue Jays, then their next 10 against the Tigers, Indians and Mariners. Point being that after playing what may have been the toughest schedule in the majors thus far, they now play what appears - and that's important - to be an easier slate.

To participate: Come to 'The Heater' at or after noon and look for a new post with the headline, "The chat is OPEN." Click on the "Comments" link of that item and you'll be taken to a page with everything that's been said in the chat so far, and a place at the bottom of the page for you to add your own comment or question. Just keep refreshing the comments page to see the latest.

-- MARC TOPKIN, Times staff writer.

(Pictured: Rays fans cheer and Red Sox supporters wince as the Rays complete a sweep of their three-game series at Tropicana Field. Times photo -- James Borchuck. Click to enlarge.)

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:36am]

    

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