It all comes down to this. The Tampa Rays have played 159 games and now three are going to decide their postseason fate. And that series is against the mighty New York Yankees. Somehow they have to find a way to sweep these three games and hope the Boston Red Sox slip against the Baltimore Orioles.
Things were looking up when the Yankees had defeated the Red Sox 6-2 early on Sunday and then took a 3-0 lead in the nightcap. The Red Sox battled back to take the lead 4-3 then let the Yankees tie the game at four and they headed to extra innings. The two teams traded missed opportunities until Jacoby Ellsbury hit a three run homer in the top of the fourteenth. Red Sox nation collectively sighed in relief. Their lead would remain intact. Rays’ fans groaned in disgust and instead of even in the standings they are one game back and in need of some help.
Ellsbury was a one man Yankee wrecking machine on Sunday. He had three of the five hits that A.J. Burnett allowed in game one, including two solo home runs. He then had two hits and the decisive three run homer in game two. On Sunday he became the first 30/30 man in Red Sox history in one swing he turned what could have been a devastating loss into a momentum building win.
The Red Sox will look to build on the win with Josh Beckett taking the mound Monday against the Orioles. In his last start, which was against the Orioles last Wednesday, he took the loss allowing six runs in seven and a third. In games two and three the Red Sox will start Erik Bedard and Jon Lester. Can the Orioles play spoiler? Can the Rays win enough for it to matter? We’ve waited 159 games, what’s three more?