After dropping 2 out of 3 in Beantown the Rays find themselves in 4th place in the AL East, 1 game behind the Yankees, 5.5 games behind Boston, and 6.5 behind Toronto, who just refuse to fall off pace, although they're still yet to play division foes Tampa, New York, or Boston (that changes tonight when they play at home v. the Yankees).
In a related note; the Rays and Jays won't face off for the first time this season until they meet in Toronto on June 29th! The two intra-divisional clubs will only meet 6 times this side of the All-Popularity break, leaving 12 meetings between them as they head down the stretch. I know they're currently the division leaders, but I'm rather pleased to see the Rays play the Jays 12 times in the second half rather than Boston (whom they'll play 8 times in the second half) or New York (9 times).
As our friend Dustin recently pointed out (C&W) the Rays are headed into a stretch of very winnable games as long as they play to their potential and not down to their opponents' level. It's not out of the question for the Rays to go on a big run to finish off May and head toward the dog-days of summer with a head of steam. But, as Dustin also stated in the comments of that same post ; if they don't put together a nice finish to May it may very well be time to sound the alarm.
Tonight's game in Baltimore matches-up Sonny (1-3, 5.79 ERA) v. Hendrickson (1-4, 5.13 ERA), and for some reason I consider it a distinct advantage for the Rays (despite Sonny's lack of impressive numbers (lets not forget that he was robbed of his last win)). I predicted in my Eternal Optimist post that I saw a 2-game sweep v. Baltimore last week and a 2 game split in Maryland this week, but since they split the series last week I'll just spin it around and predict the sweep this week instead.
*Evan Longoria has performed his way off of the On-Notice List (see sidebar).