Tampa Bay Rays Control Their Playoff Destiny

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After last night’s heart-stopping 4-3 walk-off win in 12 innings over the Texas Rangers, the Tampa Bay Rays that have the outstanding position of being totally in charge of their own playoff destiny.

At this point, everyone else in the race for the AL Wild Card playoffs must hope for another team to lose for them to make up ground, but the Rays hold the top slot and all they have to do is win. Finishing off the Rangers tonight at Tropicana Field would be a great start to holding on to that newly-claimed top spot.

As we look at the standings this morning, the Rays hold a one-game lead over the Rangers, who has sole possession the second and final Wild Card spot. Hot on the Rangers’ heels are the Cleveland Indians, who trail them by just 0.5 game, then comes the hard-charging Baltimore Orioles, who are just a game out, with the New York Yankees at 2.5 followed closely by the Kansas City Royals at three back.

After the Rays finish off tonight’s showdown with the Rangers, they get yet another chance to take care of one those teams chasing them. Baltimore will come to town as the Rays end the 2013 regular season home schedule in a rare Friday-though-Monday four-game series.

William Shakespeare once wrote “heavy is the head that wears the crown”. If the Rays want to play meaningful baseball deep into October with an eye on being the World Series Champions, then it will not come easy. However, as the late Al Davis, the owner of the Oakland Raiders, once said: “You gotta just win, baby”.

Rant Sports columnist James Williams is a seven time Emmy Award winning producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @Wordmandc or join his circle at Google +

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