Thursday, September 18, 2008

Congratulations, Tampa Bay Rays

Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Rays on winning the 2008 AL East division championship. They accomplished that with their 10-3 win over the Red Sox in Tampa last night*. In their 11th year of existence, they not only win more than 70 games for the first time, their first finish higher than 4th (and they'd only done that once) is a first place finish. That's quite an accomplishment and a big step to take in one year. Many people expected them to be much better this year, but not many expected this.

* - What's that? The race isn't over? Well, technically, that's true. It's pretty darn close to it, though. The lead in the division is two games, but the effective lead is bigger. For one thing, the lead is three in the loss column, and that was Boston's last opportunity to contribute to any Rays losses. For another, that win last night clinched the season series between the two teams for the Rays. Given that they'll both be in the playoffs, that means that if they finish tied, Tampa wins the East. Right now, Boston has 10 games left, Tampa 12. In order to win the division, the Sox need to lose four fewer than Tampa the rest of the way to win the East. If Boston goes 7-3, Tampa only needs 6-6 to win. The Red Sox haven't mathematically clinched, but they will have in the next few days, and resting players and setting up the pitching are more important than winning the East. So it could still happen, but I think it extremely unlikely. I think Tampa's win last night was the effective clincher.

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