September 28, 2011; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) gets sprayed with champagne as they celebrate winning the wildcard at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay Rays defeated the New York Yankees 8-7 to win the wildcard playoff spot. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Rays News and Notes: Expanded Playoffs "Will Happen"

Today we got wind of some great news for Rays fans. Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the expanded playoffs for this season “will happen.” MLB will expand the playoffs to include ten teams, five from each league. The new system will include a one game wild card round, which will take place before the division series.

This is great news for the Rays, since they play in one of the toughest divisions in baseball, not to mention the always improving AL West. The Rays certainly have a good enough team to win the AL East, but it is always reassuring that the two wild card spots will be up for grabs.

Rays News and Notes

  • There was some more good news for the Rays today, as we learned that Opening Day against the Yankees has sold out. Only scattered single seats remain.
  • Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times writes about Matt Joyce’s quest for consistency in 2012. I just hope Joyce can prove he can hit lefties this season. He will never make it as an everyday player if he doesn’t get his act together against lefties.
  • Roger Mooney of takes a look at the competition for backup catcher. At the beginning of spring we thought it would be a two horse race between Jose Lobaton and Robinson Chirinos, but Chris Gimenez has emerged as a strong third candidate.
  • ESPN Florida takes a look at the Rays quality starting rotation.
  • Finally, Joe Maddon got himself a gift for his contract extension. Maddon got himself a new ride, a 1956 Chevy BelAir.

Tags: Joe Maddon Matt Joyce Playoffs Rays

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