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AL Wild Card all tied up after Red Sox lose, Rays win

Sep 26, 2011, 10:49 PM EDT

Ellsbury of the Red Sox falls to the ground after slamming into the fence on a ball hit by Andino of the Orioles in Baltimore

Let chaos reign.

The Rays beat the Yankees 5-2 tonight while the Red Sox fell to the Orioles 6-3. And so, after 160 games, we have a flat-footed tie in the American League Wild Card race.

The Red Sox had their best starter on the mound tonight in the form of Josh Beckett, but he was chased after allowing six runs over six innings. He actually had a 2-1 lead until giving up an RBI single to Chris Davis in the bottom of the fifth and then four in the sixth, including a three-run inside-the-park home run by Robert Andino. Jacoby Ellsbury nearly made a fantastic catch on the fly ball, but lost the handle after running into the center field wall. Symbolic much?

The Red Sox managed to load the bases with one out in the of the top of the eighth inning, but they came up empty-handed after Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out swinging and Marco Scutaro grounded out. They had a chance to tie the game in the top of the ninth inning, but Orioles’ right-hander Jim Johnson was able to get Adrian Gonzalez to fly out to left field and Jed Lowrie to strike out to end it.

Meanwhile, in Tampa, James Shields came up big yet again. He limited the Yankees to two runs over 8 2/3 innings in the victory, falling one out short of his 12th complete game. Johnny Damon drove in the go-ahead run with a single in a three-run third inning and later added a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh for some insurance.

The Red Sox are now 6-19 in September. They entered play on September 4 with a nine-game lead in the Wild Card race, but we’re all back at zero now.

The Red Sox will send Erik Bedard to the hill tomorrow night against Zach Britton and Jon Lester (on three days’ rest) against Alfredo Simon in the season finale. As for the Rays, they’ll pitch Jeremy Hellickson tomorrow night against Bartolo Colon and David Price on Wednesday in what will likely be a bullpen game for the Bombers. This probably goes without saying, but I’d rather be the Rays right now.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 26, 2011 at 10:52 PM

    I doubt there will be too much chaos…Red Sox won’t win another game and the Rays definitely will. Give the Rays the WC right now. It’s over.

    • bigleagues - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:17 AM

      Yeah, sure. Why play the games? The unexpected never happens.

  2. Joe - Sep 26, 2011 at 10:53 PM

    This delights me. Am I alone in hoping for a Brewers-Rays WS?

    • bigharold - Sep 26, 2011 at 10:58 PM

      Yes you are alone with your hope…

    • paperlions - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:00 PM

      No, he isn’t.

      • Old Gator - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:17 PM

        Yes, he is.

      • bigharold - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:20 PM

        Perhaps not alone but darn close to it!

      • paperlions - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:25 PM

        Yeah, that why the votes are 50/50.

      • Old Phaithful - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:26 PM

        I’m with Gator ~ “Yes he is.”

      • bigharold - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:32 PM

        “Yeah, that why the votes are 50/50.”

        You are aware that you’re taking this way to serious?

      • paperlions - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:37 PM

        Am not.

      • cur68 - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:39 PM

        Too.

      • bigharold - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:08 AM

        “Am not.”

        Touche!

    • pisano - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:48 PM

      Your not only alone, but you must be on LSD.

      • pisano - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:50 PM

        Check that, you’re alone, and still on LSD.

    • bigleagues - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:47 AM

      Is the premise behind a Brewers-Rays WS the belief that you are pitting two small market teams against one another?

      The Brewers are in the middle of the middle third of payroll despite being the smallest market in baseball by a mile.

      The Rays, on the other hand, are in a Top 15 market (#14 to be exact) and while I understand they have a hard time attracting fans to that godforsaken cavern they play in, Fox Sports Florida/Sun Sports had the 5th highest ratings of any MLB Regional Sports Network – with the added bonus that FSN/SS is broadcast throughout the state.

      Unfortunately, the Rays are locked into a sub-standard TV deal through 2016 – a deal that was done under Sternberg’s watch. So in the meantime, the Yankees and Red Sox subsidize their common rival to the tune of nearly $40 Million per year. Ironically enough, the Rays payroll is about $40 million.

      No one knows for sure what the Rays annual revenue (Rays own box office & RSN revenue plus MLB revenue sharing, merchandising and national broadcast share) but it has been estimated to be somewhere in the $160-$175 million per year range.

      So a Brewers/Rays World Series would between a legit small market team (the smallest market) with a mid-market sized payroll versus a large mid-market team with a specious small market payroll.

      That is not to demean with what Andrew Friedman does with managing his roster – which I can’t be effusive enough about.

      My issue is the continued myth that Tampa Bay is a small market – because it’s not. Not even close – especially since their games can be seen throughout the State of Florida.

      • Joe - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:20 AM

        It’s not really about markets, though I am a sucker for a medium or small market. It’s more aobut seeing some new teams and fresh faces.

        All 5 AL contenders have been in the WS within a decade, and among them, the Rays are, to me, the most enjoyable group of baseball players. It’d be fun to see MaddonBall and KeriBall pay some dividends.

        In the NL, I guess I like the Brewers just because I follow a few Brewers tweeters, and as an upper Midwesterner, I gotta pull for them. I’d love to hate the Phillies for being a East Coast Team Humped By ESPN (ECTHBESPN), but I like Oswalt and Hamels and Lee and Halladay, so I guess none of the NL teams would disappoint me that much.

      • bigleagues - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:26 AM

        Joe, I completely buy your explanation. Excellent post, kid. I’m keeping my eye on you :-)

    • yankeefanincolo - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:36 AM

      Two reasons why I don’t want to see the Rays in the World Series… the first you can figure out from my user name… the second is, I absolutely HATE watching games played in that crummy dome!

  3. urteamsux52 - Sep 26, 2011 at 10:54 PM

    How much does Beckett make? Your best pitcher can’t beat the O’s. Hate to beat a Redsox GO RAYS

    • Old Phaithful - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:30 PM

      Who cares? Well, I bet many of you do, but I’m a little over the refrain. How many top picks do Rays get? How much money do they get not selling any seats? I’m all for a hard luck story, and give the Rays all the credit in the world for scouting and drafting well, but am really tired of hearing “poor is me” when no one in their “home town” supports them.

      • buddaley - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:22 AM

        This misinformation, that the Rays win because of all their high picks, has been debunked often enough that I won’t go through all the facts again. Just look at the roster since 2008 to discover that while some key contributors were high first round picks, the overall roster is made up of players acquired with low picks, trades, free agency and dumpster diving. By this time, people should cease repeating a factually incorrect statement.

        Take today’s lineup: Shields-16th round; Shoppach-trade; Kotchman-dumpster diving;
        Zobrist-trade; Longoria-pick 3; Brignac-2nd round; Jennings-10th round; Upton-pick 2; Joyce-trade; Damon-free agent

    • ditto65 - Sep 27, 2011 at 6:28 AM

      Glad to see you found punctuation.

  4. Glenn - Sep 26, 2011 at 10:54 PM

    Damn, this is a Bizarro World 1967 – the Impossible Nightmare. My earliest memories are of the 1967 Red Sox. I was sitting on a pony at a rinky dink horse show when the Sox clinched a tie down the stretch and the place erupted as word spread. I also remember my mom trying to make my dad jealous by saying how cute Tony Conigliaro was. Now my wife tells me how cute Jacoby Ellsbury is. But Tony C got smashed in the face, Jacoby dropped his MVP Trophy in centerfield tonight, and my pony is buried in the backyard – just like the Sox season.

    • yankeesgameday - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:21 PM

      Best anecdote this week.

      • Glenn - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:23 AM

        Thanks – and that’s no metaphor. I bought my parent’s house and the pony is buried in the back. He survived 1986 but didn’t make it to 2004.

      • Glenn - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:24 AM

        Wait – it is a metaphor. The Red Sox season is not buried in my backyard – just buried.

  5. jimbo1949 - Sep 26, 2011 at 10:55 PM

    MVP’s gotta make that catch.

    • adenzeno - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:46 AM

      Joe Morgan said a winning ballplayer would know how to make that catch.

      Actually I was afraid he had hurt himself. Glad he didn’t.

    • bigleagues - Sep 27, 2011 at 10:26 AM

      Yeah, maybe . . . but easily overlooked is Ellsbury is one of about 3 guys who could even gotten to that ball to make a catch.

  6. baseballisboring - Sep 26, 2011 at 10:55 PM

    Hunter pitched for the O’s tonight.

    • D.J. Short - Sep 26, 2011 at 10:58 PM

      Whoops, I knew that!

      • Old Gator - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:15 AM

        No you didn’t!

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:43 PM

      Does it really matter at this point? My mom could pitch for the O’s and she would probably go 6 strong against The BeanOs

      • cur68 - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:56 PM

        Your mom is clutch.

      • jimbo1949 - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:15 AM

        HEY! No moms!

  7. cackalackyank - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:03 PM

    Well I think this is one (of many) that Boston really had to have, and they did not get it. It seems to me that Joe’s foot has been off the gas pedal since he let Romine hit in the bottom of the 9th last night. That could be a mistake along the “be careful what you wish for” lines that I think it was Jeter mentioned. The Rays now have a chance to carry some powerful momentum into October if they close the deal the next 2 nights. The situation in Red Sox land has to be even more wild than before;they really could need a pitcher for Thursday too. Hey! I hear there’s this guy named Alfredo Aceves that isn’t too shabby as a spot starter….oh wait….

    • itsmekirill - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:19 PM

      There’s no such thing as momentum in baseball. True story.

  8. baseballisboring - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    we’re still tied goddamnit. WE’RE STILL TIED! i hate everything.

    • cur68 - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:48 PM

      Easy there my friend. There’s still some ball to be played. Anything could happen. Just think, you could be a Braves supporter… oh wait….

      • baseballisboring - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:17 AM

        Haha I know. It’s just hard to be optimistic. But I’m not giving up yet. Losing to the O’s in such a fashion is just a hard game to swallow.

  9. indaburg - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    I’m stunned. Thrilled, but stunned. :) Let’s go Rays! And thanks to my new second favorite team, the O’s.

  10. jimbo1949 - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    Cards & Stros in extra innings

    • jimbo1949 - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:28 PM

      Stros win in 10

    • paperlions - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:28 PM

      Not any more. Last out for the Cardinals TOOTBLAN….and then two sacrifice bunts the pitcher can’t handle because he is a billion years old.

      • jimbo1949 - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:38 PM

        TOOTBLAN Acronym for Thrown Out On The Basepaths Like A Nincompoop. Baseball statistic invented for Ryan Theriot

        LMAO :-)

      • cur68 - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:50 PM

        Can’t wait to use “TOOTBLAN” in the post season.

    • natstowngreg - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:32 PM

      Astros 5, Cards 4. The Braves (and Craig) survive another day.

      • paperlions - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:38 PM

        Craig should really be a fan of LaRussa at this point…he has been a big help to Atlanta lately.

  11. bigharold - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:15 PM

    At the beginning of the season I was pretty sure the Yankees and RS would fight it out for the AL East with the loser getting the WC. The Rays didn’t seem to have the talent to hang in there all season. And, that’s still about half true as until September that was the way it was going. And, even since the start of September the Rays haven’t exactly been a team on a mission but the RS have been just awful playing sub .400 ball. They’ve coughed up a 9 game lead over the Rays in the less than a month.

    Most of the time I would say that if a team gets in the playoffs they deserve it. If the RS get into the playoffs this year they could be the exception that proves the rule.

    At any rate, if the RS don’t get in at least the Nation will have to shut up about the 2004 ALCS.

    • itsmekirill - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:20 PM

      Sub-.400? Try sub-.250 ball.

      • bigharold - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:30 PM

        Actually it’s not that bad but close.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:39 PM

        Aren’t the RS 6-19 in September? That’s sub-.250 isn’t it? Just saying…

      • itsmekirill - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:44 PM

        http://cdn2.sbnation.com/fan_shot_images/217514/choke.jpg

      • bigharold - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:24 AM

        OK, … it is that bad.

  12. crankyfrankie - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:39 PM

    Just think if the Rays were not so cheap and brought up Moore and Jennings sooner. This race might be over?

  13. crankyfrankie - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:40 PM

    Oh for all your national leaguers. It is cheaper to fly to Orlando, rent a car, drive to Tampa and buy a ticket than it is for standing room at Citizens Bank Park.

  14. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:50 PM

    Rays are 15-10 this month. As a Yankee fan I don’t worry too much about their momentum as this is much more about Boston’s collapse than it is about their surge. The last time they played a team that cares the Yankees took 3 of 4.

    The only people who should be celebrating the AL wild card race are the Tigers/Rangers team and fans who will probably see an exhausted team hungover from such a late season battle. God I hope the Yankees play Texas in the ALDS. Verlander & Fister for 4 games in a 5 game set does not sound like fun.

  15. yournuts - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:12 AM

    Relax, the Yankee’s are just resting and cruising now. I was so disappointed that the Yanks didn’t take the second game from the Red Sox Sunday. Now I wouldn’t mind a playoff between the Red Sox and the Ray’s. That could be fun too. As a Yankee fan nothing beats a Red Sox collapse on the final days of the season. I see that Bartolo Colon is pitching for the Yankees tomorrow and I’d like Girardi to rest Cano, Arod, Jeter, Tex and Granderson for the last two games of the season. I’d also like Girardi to start Scott Proctor on Wednesday and rest up the rest of the pitching staff.

    • sparky1002 - Sep 27, 2011 at 4:24 AM

      Indeed…the Yankees have more than one way of still hammering the “beaners”…you saw part of it when they started Noesi in a forgone losing effort.

  16. brockw82 - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:33 AM

    Love love love it! Suck it Sox.

  17. md23rewlz - Sep 27, 2011 at 2:30 AM

    One of the many funny things about this whole collapse is that it’s not like Tampa’s even playing that well. All Boston had to do was have a month that was remotely close to mediocre and this thing would have been put away. Solid work on all fronts, Boston. The world is enjoying this. Thank you.

  18. 12strikes - Sep 27, 2011 at 6:58 AM

    Can’t wait to read the boston newspapers when this collapse is complete.

  19. basiltharat - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:37 AM

    A couple of weeks ago I said it was “silly” for Red Sox fans to be worried about the Rays. Obviously I don’t know nothing about nothing, and I apologize. I just never imagined that even with their pitching problems, a team as good as Boston could continue to play .250 ball.

    This absolutely is about Boston’s collapse, mostly, but I would like to note that the Rays are playing WELL — they’re 33-20 in August and September, which is a .623 winning percentage or a 101-win pace. Admittedly that still wouldn’t be enough if the Sox were playing merely adequately, but that’s not exactly backing in (if they do indeed pull this off — I’m out of the prediction game).

  20. randall351 - Sep 27, 2011 at 10:43 AM

    I say it’s the Mike Aviles effect, as far as the Red Sox collapse. He is an awful player.

  21. offseasonblues - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    It just so happens that the Red Sox are only mostly dead.

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