The Rays punched their ticket to the postseason in such dramatic fashion that many are calling their comeback win over the Yankees on the final day of the regular season one of the greatest games in baseball history.
Tampa Bay finished with a record of 91-71, one game ahead of the Boston Red Sox, which managed to blow an eight-game lead in the AL Wild Card race in just the final weeks of the season.
Will the Rays be back again next year?
Yes and the two primary reasons why are pitching and defense.
The Rays finished 2011 second in the AL with a 3.58 team ERA and first with a .234 opponents' batting average. They also had the best fielding percentage in the league (.988).
Pitching and defense wins games and gets clubs to the postseason, especially in the new pitching-dominant era MLB has entered.
With starters like David Price returning, and manager Joe Maddon's stewardship, the Rays will return to the postseason in 2012.