Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

David Price becomes Tampa Bay Rays' first 20-game winner in 6-2 victory over Chicago White Sox

CHICAGO — The Rays took care of what they needed to Sunday, beating the White Sox 6-2 to keep their postseason hopes alive as they head home for the final three games of the season and getting ace David Price his milestone 20th victory.

But as much as they've done in winning 10 of their past 11 games, their chances to make it back to the playoffs have been reduced to an extreme long shot — making up three games on the A's with three to play, then having to win a tiebreaker — and that could be gone by tonight.

And the worst part is there's very little they can do about it.

"It's out of our hands," centerfielder B.J. Upton said. "We've just got to hope for a little bit of help."

More than a little, actually.

In simplest form, the Rays need to sweep the Orioles while the A's get swept at home by Texas. And that would just be to force a one-game tiebreaker for the second AL wild card, which would be Thursday in Oakland.

That's all the Rays (88-71) were left with after Sunday wins by the Orioles and Yankees — who are now tied for the American League East lead — officially put the division title and first wild card out of reach. And then the A's made it worse by beating Seattle to remain three games ahead. Plus, there's also the Angels, who split a doubleheader at Texas and are tied with the Rays.

"It sucks to be in the position we're in when you're trying to root for other teams to lose,'' third baseman Evan Longoria said. "It kind of gives you the feeling of being on the other side. When you don't control your own destiny, it's not the best feeling."

"Of course, it's a little bit frustrating,'' manager Joe Maddon said.

They at least felt good about what they did on the field Sunday, starting with Price, who became the first 20-game winner in Rays history and enhanced his chance to become their first Cy Young Award winner as well.

"I would hope so," Maddon said.

Handed a two-run lead on the first of two homers by Upton — who needs two more in his likely last three games with the Rays to reach 30 — Price worked a solid seven innings. He allowed two runs in a messy fourth but wasn't challenged much otherwise, improving to 20-5 and maintaining his major-league-best 2.56 ERA. At 27, he is the youngest 20-game winner in the AL since Johan Santana did it at 24 in 2004 for the Twins.

Price said he considered it as much a team achievement as an individual one — "It's been very special" — and that it hadn't really sunk in yet. Plus, he wants to start again in the playoffs.

Even in expressing their confidence, and referencing last season's dramatic dash, to get back into the playoffs, the Rays sounded a bit resigned to their likely disappointing fate of missing out, which will become official as soon as they lose or the A's win once.

"I still believe we can do this because there still is that mathematical opportunity," Maddon said. "But regardless, you've got to appreciate our guys. That's 10 out of 11 at this time of the year, under these circumstances where you can't really hiccup. We had that one mulligan the other night. Our guys have been outstanding, everybody — pitching, hitting, the defense, the coaching staff. They've all been great."

"We need something to happen, but you can't be disappointed with the effort," Longoria said. "We've been as good as we could be down the stretch."

The problem, of course, is what they did to get into this predicament, specifically losing 26 one-run games and going 1-7 in a mid September stretch against Baltimore, New York and Boston.

"We need some help," Price said. "That's what we needed last year and it happened. Just keep winning. Weirder things happened last year."

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]

 
Comments
Rays’ Rocco Baldelli reportedly a finalist for Toronto job

Rays’ Rocco Baldelli reportedly a finalist for Toronto job

Rays coach Rocco Baldelli is one of five finalists for the Blue Jays manager's job, Sportsnet's Shi Davidi reported.Three other finalists were said to be Astros bench coach Joe Espada, Giants farm director David Bell and Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde...
Published: 10/16/18
Rays sending 4 trucks of supplies to hurricane-ravaged area

Rays sending 4 trucks of supplies to hurricane-ravaged area

The Rays will send four trucks of donated water, food and supplies to Bay County on Wednesday morning to help those affected by Hurricane Michael.About 20 staffers are making what will be a 36-hour trip to the Florida Panhandle as they deliver and di...
Published: 10/16/18
Rays make first 2019 signing, add LHP Ryan Sherriff

Rays make first 2019 signing, add LHP Ryan Sherriff

The Rays made their first move of the off-season, signing LHP Ryan Sherriff to a minor-league deal.Sherriff, 28, is recovering from June Tommy John elbow surgery so at best would be a late-season addition to the big-league roster.He has pitched parts...
Published: 10/16/18
Rays’ Rocco Baldelli interviews with Rangers

Rays’ Rocco Baldelli interviews with Rangers

Interest in Rays coach Rocco Baldelli as a manager continues to grow, as he interviewed for another opening on Monday, this time with the Texas Rangers.Baldelli, 37, has also interviewed with the Reds, and reportedly with the Twins. The Angels and Bl...
Published: 10/15/18
David Price finally leads Red Sox to a postseason victory. Sort of

David Price finally leads Red Sox to a postseason victory. Sort of

BOSTON — According to standard baseball measurements, David Price did not pitch well on Sunday night. The former Ray gave up four runs in fewer than five innings, handed back a lead that his Boston Red Sox teammates had given him in the first inning ...
Published: 10/15/18
Sports Illustrated: Rays were baseball’s ‘most consequential’ team in 2018

Sports Illustrated: Rays were baseball’s ‘most consequential’ team in 2018

They won't win the World Series. And they didn't even make the playoffs.Yet, the Rays were baseball's "most consequential baseball team" this season, according to Sports Illustrated.The opener strategy first employed by the Rays presents "the biggest...
Published: 10/15/18
Add Reds to teams Rays’ Rocco Baldelli has talked with

Add Reds to teams Rays’ Rocco Baldelli has talked with

We told you in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times that Rays coach Rocco Baldelli was a "hot name" for the six current managerial openings, and had already been connected with the Blue Jays, Rangers and Twins.There was word Sunday morning of formal contact with...
Published: 10/14/18
Rays Tales: Is moving on from C.J. Cron the right move?

Rays Tales: Is moving on from C.J. Cron the right move?

ST. PETERSBURG —The Rays' primary target this offseason seems to be adding a right-handed impact bat.And to do so, they are likely to get rid of the one they have, 30-homer hitting 1B/DH C.J. Cron.Why?In short, to try to upgrade. And gain some ...
Published: 10/13/18
Updated: 10/15/18
Rays collecting donations for Hurricane Michael relief

Rays collecting donations for Hurricane Michael relief

The Rays are collecting donations to help those in the Panhandle affected by Hurricane Michael.You can donate from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday and 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday at the Tropicana Field Gate 4 dropoff circle at 16th Street near Fifth Avenue S in St. Pe...
Published: 10/13/18
Michelle Margaux leaving Rays TV broadcasts, heading to Houston

Michelle Margaux leaving Rays TV broadcasts, heading to Houston

Michelle Margaux is leaving Fox Sports Sun after one season as the reporter on Rays broadcasts and heading Houston to cover the NBA Rockets as the in-game reporter for AT&T SportsNet.Margaux will also have some hosting duties and work some Astros gam...
Published: 10/10/18