The Tampa Bay Rays are 29-11 after beating the Yankees tonight. That means they can go .500 the rest of the way and win 90 games. In other words, good luck catching them.
Tampa is talented, young and has a bunch of prospects who could help if needed. With Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena free agents at the end of the season, this is their window and they know it.
The real race could be between the Red Sox and Yankees for the wild card. The Yankees have the lead right now but injuries are mounting. Jorge Posada will be out 3-4 weeks with a fracture in his right foot. Marcus Thames sprained his left ankle tonight and Curtis Granderson has not yet come back from his groin strain.
Derek Jeter (.266/.312/.387) is struggling and eventually age will catch up to Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte. Or at least presumably it will.
The Sox aren’t a very consistent team right now and may never be. But they could get into a race with the Yankees.
As for tonight, you had to be impressed with Clay Buchholz. On a night when Jon Papelbon was out, he worked into the ninth inning and was efficient, getting 11 groundball outs and throwing only 104 pitches.
It’s a game like this that reminds you why the front office is so committed to Buchholz and how hard it would be to trade him. He threw some changeups tonight that mystified the Twins.
If by the end of the season he and Jon Lester were the two pitchers you wanted on the mound in a big series, it would not be a surprise.
Thanks again for reading the blog. The momentum is building every day with this thing and it’s because of the comments and the great back-and-forth between the readers.
Back at it tomorrow.