With the final out of last night's game, the Rays lucky streak had final run its course; this time, there will likely be no postseason baseball in the Tampa Bay area. Both Baltimore and New York won their games, and the Rays are now four games behind the Orioles for one of the two wild card spots for the American League. The only way the Rays could pull off some more September magic is if the Rays win out and the Orioles lose the last five games of the season. While it is highly unlikely that Baltimore will crumble under pressure, we must always remember the infamous Red Sox collapse of the 2011, and that anything is possible in the final days of a baseball season.
Jeremy Hellickson started for the Rays tonight, and looked good through his first two innings, locating his pitches well, but was pitching just to put the ball in play and get the easy outs. The only problem is, Alex Rios, Gordon Beckham and Alexi Ramirez didn't get the memo, tagging Hellickson for 7 of the 9 hits he surrendered. Alex Rios put the White Sox ahead permanently when he took Hellickson yard in the fourth, and would turn out to be the only run the ChiSox would need to seal the win.
Gavin Floyd had no control of any sort tonight, het somehow was only tagged for one run, which was a solo shot off the bat of Ben Zobrist in the first inning. Floyd ended up walking 5 Rays batters, but surprisingly only have up two hits in his 5 innings of work, which was good enough to pick up his 11th win of the year. After Floyd was pulled, the ChiSox bullpen was lights out, pitching the remaining four innings and only giving up one hit, essentially neutralizing any hope of the Rays mounting a comeback.
The Rays new that, at this point in the season with less than a dozen games left, every win is curcial and even a single loss is devastating. With the way Baltimore and New York are playing, the Rays could not afford to lose last night's game, but the ChiSox pitching staff essentially shut down the Rays' offense. Now 5 games behind the Yankees and 4 games behind the Orioles for one of the wild card spots, the Rays' only hope of playing in October is if the impossible happens.
Notable stats from tonight's game:
B. Zobrist: 1-3, Solo HR, RBI