Tampa Bay Rays: Are the Baltimore Orioles Their Good Luck Charm?

Jamal WilburgCorrespondent ISeptember 25, 2013

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 23:  Infielder Yunel Escobar #11 of the Tampa Bay Rays showers pinch hitter James Loney #21 after play against the Baltimore Orioles September 23, 2013 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays won 5 - 4 on Loney's home run in the bottom of the 9th inning. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The Baltimore Orioles are the reason the Tampa Bay Rays will make the postseason in 2013.

That is not because the Orioles lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, 3-2, Wednesday night to be eliminated from the AL Wild-Card chase. It is because Baltimore and Tampa Bay share an odd connection.

The Orioles are the Rays' lucky rabbit's foot.

Divisional opponents are usually seen through the lens of opposing foes in a tough rivalry. Rarely would a sane person think that one team could be a good luck charm for another.

Since the franchise converted from being called the Devil Rays to the Rays in 2008, Tampa Bay has made the postseason in 2008, 2010 and 2011. In all three seasons, the Orioles were the Rays' Opening Day opponent.

Now, the Rays find themselves on the brink of their fourth postseason appearance.

Guess who they played to start the season?

Does Opening Day against the Orioles mean playoffs for the Rays?
Does Opening Day against the Orioles mean playoffs for the Rays?Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

That’s right, their division pals from Baltimore.

If that’s not enough to at least warrant a momentary pondering of the possibility of fate, there is another special moment to consider.

On Sept. 4, 2011, Rays trailed the Boston Red Sox by nine games for the AL Wild Card. On the final night of the regular season, the two teams were tied in the standings.

The Orioles defeated the Red Sox, clearing the road for the Rays to advance to the postseason with a win over the New York Yankees.

The Rays rallied from being down seven to earn the wild card with a walk-off victory in extra innings over the Yankees. Without the Orioles' victory, the Rays would have faced the Red Sox in a one-game playoff for a postseason berth.

With this season winding down, the wild-card race has been tight. Five teams were within three games of the two wild-card spots last Thursday, Sept. 19.

Once again, the Orioles were right on time, as the Rays swept them in their four-game series to sit atop the AL wild-card chase with a two-game lead heading into Wednesday.

The Rays and their fans should enjoy their luck this year. Next year, Tampa Bay starts its season against the Toronto Blue Jays.