Red Sox and Rays, Finally Under Way

Filed in Sports by on September 12, 2009 0 Comments

After one day and two hours of rain delays, the much anticipated series between the Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays is finally getting underway beneath the lights at Fenway. After a monsoon rained out the game last night—a makeup is scheduled for Sunday afternoon as the first installment of a doubleheader—and a full day of rain pushed back tonight’s contest, the itch of anticipation is beginning to get to me.

This series is incredibly important for both teams as they remain locked in a tight race for the AL wild card. Heading into tonight’s game, the Red Sox stills sit two games up in the wild card standings over the surging Texas Rangers. The Rays, last year’s out-of-nowhere Cinderella story, are nine and a half out. While the prospect of a Rays postseason is slim at best, it is not entirely out of the question. A road sweep against the Sox is probably their only chance of staying alive, though that would also require a ton of help from every team the Rangers play down the stretch. So as I say, not impossible, just very, very, unlikely

What has me worried though is this win or die mentality, that the Rays know they must do something drastic or be denied any chance of reaching the playoffs this year. I keep thinking of that saying about the danger of a cornered animal; I’m hoping it doesn’t apply to sea life, or, at least, to a bunch of muscular dudes collectively referred to as a type of sea creature.

As for the Red Sox, they too are in a precarious position. They need to keep up their recent run off good games to ward off the Rangers. If only they could play the Orioles for the remainder of the season. But, unfortunately, they have the Rays, and, as I said, the Rays are not about to roll over, go belly up, and float to the top of the tank.

With the season nearly over, there is no longer a chance of the Sox catching the Yankees in the AL East. The Yankees hold an enormous eight game lead, and everything keeps on clicking for them. They hold, by far, the best record in all of baseball, their pitching staff is finally under control, and every single batter seems to be swinging a tree trunk right now. Well, hollow tree trunks, filled with cork for extra pop, or something similarly huge and light to facilitate the hitting of anything near the strike zone.

And as I sit here, writing this entry in anticipation of the series’ first pitch, the radio announces that Beckett has just recorded the first out of the game. One pitch, one out on a ground ball to second base. Of course an entire three game set cannot be gauged by one pitch, but I’m optimistic. At least I can hope this is a good sign of things to come.

As much as it’s nice to have a lead in the standings, it’s also an anxious position to be in. Every game, the Red Sox know they have a target on their back, and any slip up could send them tumbling out of contention. They have everything to lose; the Rays and Rangers have everything to gain.

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