Are the Rays Feeling the Pressure?

By Peter M. Gordon

After 161 games and 90 wins, the Rays are again in a must-win situation to make the post season. A win in Sunday’s game against the Blue Jays guarantees at least one more game. If the season ends with the Rays and Rangers tied for the second wild card spot (the current scenario), the Rays play on Monday at 8:07 PM Eastern time in Texas. If the Rangers and Rays win and the Indians lose, the three way tie puts the Rays in a modified double loss elimination scenario.

First the Indians would play the Rays in Tampa on Monday, 9/30, at 4:07 PM. The winner goes to the Wild Card game on Wednesday, 10/2, and the loser plays Texas on Tuesday at 4:07 PM. The location of that game depends upon who won the season series, so if its the Rays they will play in Texas. The location and time of the Wednesday wild card game are TBD depending on who makes it.

Are the Rays feeling the pressure? You have to think so, given the number of errors, runners left on base, and opposition home runs. Pitchers may be trying too hard to throw the perfect pitch and instead are hanging curveballs. I can’t remember the last game the Rays had as many as three errors.  The Blue Jays, on the other hand, with nothing to lose, are playing like sweeping this series will redeem their season.

As a Rays fan, I particularly regret all the blown saves in April and May, the decision to keep Wil Myers in the minors for a month after it was clear he could hit major league pitching, and the decision to keep Roberto Hernandez in the rotation long enough for him to go 6-13 with a 4.89 ERA. Winning just one or two games more early in the season would have helped avoid the Rays’ current predicament. But at this point, there is no time for regrets and the only thing the Rays can focus on in the task ahead of them.bThe Rays have risen to the occasion when their backs were against the wall before. Here’s hoping they do so again on Sunday.