Rays’ fans know Tampa Bay likes to keep things interesting. The Rays certainly kept everyone interested in their late September rally for the second AL Wild Card slot after losing seven out of eight games in the middle of the month. However, Rays’ fans also know that the Rays find themselves in a lot of games decided by one run or extending into extra innings. The Rays tend to crack in these situations as they won only 19 out of 42 games decided by one run and won only 5 out of 12 games that went into extra innings in 2012. Between the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees, guess whom the Rays struggled against the most? The Orioles. Baltimore beat the Rays 6 out of 7 times when the game was decided by one run and beat Tampa Bay both times they played against each other in extra innings.
The Orioles once again displayed their worth last night as a team who can deliver when necessary. They beat the New York Yankees 2-1 in the 13th inning, forcing the American League Division Series to extend to a 5th game. With this being the first time the Orioles have made a playoff appearance since 1997, they are determined to not let New York stand in their way, as they look to advance to the Championship Series.
Baltimore and New York have faced each other 22 times combined during the regular season and postseason in 2012, with each team winning 11 games. Their record is tied and the Championship Series is on the line. This is the kind of moments fans live for. But, it is also the type of moments that make Rays’ fans incredibly nervous in these situations.
If Rays’ fans are looking to find excitement in a team in tonight’s matchup, they should root for the Orioles. The Orioles have a better record than the Yankees in tense situations this season, as New York has lost 24 out of 44 games decided by one run and Baltimore has lost only 8 out of 36 games decided by one run. Both teams have beat each other 4 times and lost to each other 4 times in extra innings during the regular season and postseason combined in 2012. With this in mind, it means that either team really has a shot at winning the Division series tonight, but the Orioles have something else the Yankees don’t: they are the underdogs.
The New York Yankees have one of the largest fan bases in the nation, and with 27 World Series, are undoubtedly dominant in the postseason. The Orioles have only won 3 World Series but have blown baseball fans out of the water with their dominance this season.
Since the Rays’ first winning season and first playoff appearance in 2008, people can’t stop talking about the Rays. After a solid decade of losing seasons, 2008 was the turn around year for the organization, and they have not slowed down since. However, the Rays’ season ended without a postseason appearance, despite their hearty efforts in September to rally from behind. The Rays continue to be seen as the underdogs at times, despite their growing dominance in the AL East Division, which is arguably the toughest division in baseball. If Rays’ fans want to keep up the spirit that comes with following the Rays, root for the Orioles tonight and hope that they can stay alive in the playoffs. Who knows, maybe the Orioles will not only advance to the Championship Series but also maybe make it to the World Series. The Rays have yet to win a World Series, but it sure would be nice compensation to Rays fans to see someone else win a World Series who has not in decades.