Baseball clubs across the MLB can feel it. The intensity of each game is amplified. The standings mean everything. Every at-bat is important. Every pitch counts.
October is coming.
While the Tampa Bay Rays attempt to, yet again, earn themselves a wild-card position and possibly an AL East title, Joe Maddon knows the importance of each and every matchup.
Arguably one of the premier managers in the MLB, Maddon has witnessed the rise of the small-market squad in Tampa Bay. With a roster that features many future stars, the Rays will rely on the play of these young studs to reach the postseason.
Today, the Rays open up a three game series against the New York Yankees, the squad that currently sits atop the AL East. Both of these ball clubs understand the pressure of the final month of the season and the importance of a series against a division rival.
While the Rays find themselves at third place in the AL East by three and a half games and one and a half games out of the wild-card, this series against the Yankees becomes all the more important.
Tampa Bay will rely on its impressive 29-22 record against AL East opponents in this series as they hope to take two out of three games from the New York powerhouse at the very least.
Joe Maddon put it simply for Tampa Bay Times writer Marc Topkin. “Absolutely, no doubt we can catch the Yankees. We’ve got to catch Baltimore first.”