The Tampa Bay Rays (60-42) have a huge opportunity on Thursday to take control of the American League East on Thursday with a victory in Boston. Tampa was able to at least split the crucial four-game series with the Boston Red Sox (61-42) this week. The Rays have one more game today and it would be huge for Tampa to win the final game of the series and take the series. Tampa could take control of first place in the division for the first time since April as they are now only a half-game back. This victory on Thursday would be huge for the Rays mentally going forward because they know they were able to go into Fenway and take first place from the Red Sox. Getting in first place is always nice but stealing it from the team in first place is even better. Tampa collected victories on Monday and Wednesday night as Tuesday they let it slip away due to the lack of hitting with runners in scoring position.
Jeremy Hellickson will pitch the big game on Thursday night. Hellickson has won five of his last six starts so should be ready to deliver a great game and follow the dynamic duo of Matt Moore and David Price. Tampa only faces Boston three more times all year so getting the win here really would be huge. Tampa is clicking on all cylinders playing fantastic defense and the pitching has been outstanding right now. They are doing all the little things right and this is what it takes to win ball games.
On Wednesday, David Price was on the mound. Price looked great once again. He was able to pitch a complete game, allowing five hits and one run and doing so under 100 pitches. Price has had three complete games out of his last four outings. He has been a complete monster since coming back of the DL. Wil Myers was able to knock in two runners in the third inning. Tampa took a 3-0 lead into the fourth. James Loney and Jose Molina provided clutch hits in the eighth inning to extend the lead 5-1. Tampa held on and took the victory 5-1. It was a big time win with 11 hits and almost everybody in the lineup had a hit on Wednesday. Tampa is still producing up and down the lineup. This is what makes this team so dangerous you don’t know where they will hit you.
On Tuesday, Roberto Hernandez pitched well only giving up three runs but Jon Lester was just a little better. Tampa could only mustard two solo shots by Wil Myers and Evan Longoria and fell 6-2 to Boston. Then on Monday, Matt Moore was outstanding. He pitched a complete game shutout. This was the best game Matt Moore has ever pitched. Moore only allowed two hits the entire game and Tampa won 3-0 with a big game by James Loney. Loney had a pair of RBIs on Monday.
The Rays will head to New York this weekend. This is a big series as well because you need to be able to win within the division. The Yankees (53-48) are beat up and seven games back but still a good ball club. Hopefully Tampa can continue to dominate in every aspect of the game like they have been doing the past month. The Rays are on this incredible 22-5 run and look to continue it as this is a very dangerous team that seems to be postseason bound.