One more game against Baltimore, which I'm looking past, but hopefully the Rays are not, and then in comes Texas.
Texas is currently trailing Boston by 1 game and lead the Rays by 2 games in the AL Wildcard race.
Let's say hypothetically that the Rays, Sox, and Rangers all win tonight so Texas rolls into town with a 2 game lead over the Rays.
Here's the pitching match-ups for the 3-game set:
Dustin Nippert, RHP (4-1, 3.52) vs. Scott Kazmir, LHP (7-7, 6.36)
Despite Nippert's impressive ERA, the sample size is fairly small considering that he's only started 6 games this season. He was quite hittable in his only start v. the rays last season, giving up 7 runs in just 4 innings of work.
Tommy Hunter, RHP (6-2, 2.64) vs. Matt Garza, RHP (7-8, 3.73)
Hunter has been on a tear as of late, winning 6 of his last 7 decisions, and has held opponents to a BA of below .220. This is the match-up that intrigues me the most as we're never sure what to expect form Matty G. It'll take a solid outing to keep the Rays in this one.
Scott Feldman, RHP (12-4, 4.06) vs. David Price, LHP (6-5, 5.03)
Feldman at 12-4 has been very good for the Rangers thus far and has a career ERA of 2.50 against the Rays. A win by the Rays in this game would be a nice accomplishment and could go a long way in helping the Rays secure a wildcard spot.
All three games are wide open, and a sweep in either direction is by no means out of the question, but I'm feeling optimistic in light of JoeMa's black hair and think that the Rays will win the first 2 before dropping the third game to Feldman.
If that theory holds true, at the end of the series the Rays would trail the Rangers by just 1 game, and should I dare to dream that Boston were to drop 2 out of 3 during that same time span (v. New York), only 2 games behind the Sox with 39 games to go.