All right. Not last chance exactly, but taking 2 of 3 or (can barely think of it) sweeping the Rays would put the Sox in decent position to finish in the division lead. We're on great track for the wild card, and it's worth pondering whether we should be terribly gung-ho for the division crown.
Regardless, one thing is for certain. All of the Rays-Yanks games this weekend were great. Either the Yankees lost, or the Rays lost, every time. I didn't get too caught up in deciding who to root for; I simply rooted for the Sox against the Jays, and was glad every night to see one more in the loss column for either the MFYs or the MFRs.
We enter the series 1 GB, and have Daisuke, Beckett, and Wake going against Kazmir, Sonnanstine, and Garza in that order. Daisuke vs. Kazmir is somewhat of a mismatch in the Rays' favor. Daisuke was again mentioned as a Cy candidate on TBS yesterday afternoon, and may I just say that I was convinced no one at TBS has seen Daisuke pitch this season. Am I the only one who has been frustrated by him just about every time out? Sure he's got the talent to get out of jams, but not getting into them in the first place would be just as good a lot better.
Despite Sonnanstine's great effort against us in the last series, I still think Beckett over Sonnanstine is a fairly safe call to make. Wake v. Garza is a bit harder to gauge. Wake is excellent in domes and at the Trop specifically (1.13 WHIP, 9-2 in 114 IP). Garza has been very impressive this season and is projected to start on three days rest against us on Wednesday. He has only one such start on short rest to his credit in his short career.
By the way. I realize I just spewed a little about Daisuke, but the hatred for Wake around here has got to stop. He's averaged over 6 innings per start with a 1.19 WHIP and 106 Ks in 167 2/3 IP. If you think he's the cause or reason for any problems we've had this season, then I'll just have to assume that the only thing you can look at is his pitching record.
Timlin is about 1% at fault for the other night. The other 99% rests with our offense that couldn't plate a run, even given 6 billion decent chances to do so. That being said, the Sox are going to have a tough decision that I hope they will make: sending Timlin home when the playoffs start. Pitchers who still have talent > veteran experience.
Anyway. Play and beat the Rays. Go Sox.