Tonight the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Texas Rangers in a tiebreaker game for the second AL Wild Card berth. The key moment in the game was a 2-run homer by Rays 3B Evan Longoria in the 3rd inning. The game was closer than the score would indicate, as it was 4-2 for much of the final few innings, and the Rangers brought the tying run to the plate several times, before a brilliant base-running play by Rays CF Sam Fuld led to an error and an insurance run. Rays starter David Price went the distance for his fourth complete game of the season.
Now the Rays will fly tomorrow morning to Cleveland, where Wednesday night at 8:00 they will play the AL Wild Card Game against the Indians. The winner of that game will play the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS, with games October 4th, 5th, 7th, and if necessary, 8th and 10th. The same schedule will be followed by the other ALDS matchup between the Detroit Tigers and the Oakland Athletics.
The NL portion of the playoffs begins tomorrow night, when the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates play the NL Wild Card game. The NLDS games will be October 3rd, 4th, 6th, and if necessary, 7th, and 9th. The Reds/Pirates winner will go to St. Louis to play the Cardinals, while the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves will battle.
At midnight, it will be October. Twenty hours later, we will be watching official playoff baseball. How appropriate.