Saturday, June 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

MLB Playoffs: Jose Lobaton's reminder of old Tampa Bay Rays magic

Rays story lines always pop up at this time of the year, even after the Rays are done playing.

Take Game 2 of one National League Division Series on Sunday. The key hit in the Nationals win over the Dodgers was a three-run homer by Washington catcher Jose Lobaton. Yes, the same Jose Lobaton who delivered the last postseason win in Rays history with a walk-off homer into the Trop rays tank in the bottom of the ninth to the Red Sox in Game 3 of the 2013 ALDS.

Lobaton was light hitting then and he's even lighter hitting now, an unlikely hero, but there he was Sunday, reminding us of old Rays magic.

You know, it seems longer than three years since the Rays won a playoff game. Who knows if they'll ever get back to the postseason.

And take Game 2 of this year's ALDS. There was Boston starter, $217-million man and former Rays star David Price being yanked from another losing playoff start.

Price basically made a million bucks a start this season, but has gone belly up again in the playoffs. Price's postseasons have pretty much gone downhill from his freshman heroics in 2008, when he threw out of the Rays bullpen and closed out the 2008 ALCs against Boston to put the Rays in the World Series.

Price is now — get this — 0-8 with a 5.74 in playoff starts. And the Red Sox are in a deep dark place, down 0-2 to the Indians in their best of five series.

It kind of reminds me of Price's Game 2 start for the Rays in that 2013 ALDS against Boston. He got beaten up at Fenway Park, including a long home run from David Ortiz, who stared long and hard at his handiwork, prompting Price to whine after the game, about Ortiz, about pretty much everything. Price's final Rays playoff appearance. Nice.

Never mind that Price's departure via trade in 2014 might one day represent the demarcation line between great Rays history and bad Rays history.

One day? How about right now?

Guy still gags in the postseason.

But then there are the Cubs, managed by the one and only Joe Maddon, whose lineup includes Ben Zobrst, one of the all-time Rays.

Chicago is a win away from the NLDS. Win that series and it's the World Series, which would be Chicago's first in 71 years. It becomes jungle madness after that. Just find a safe place to hold out.

By the way, if Boston climbs back into its series, David Price might be the Game 5 starter

No, you can't keep the Rays out of the postseason, even when the Rays aren't in it.

Enjoy the games!

 
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