Trying to Stay Afloat
Tampa Bay Rays
Overall record (through Sunday): 68-70
Last week: 3-3
This week: Vs. Minnesota Twins (Mon.-Wed.); off Thursday; at Boston Red Sox (Fri.-Sun.)
Tampa Bay started off well last week with a pair of road wins over the Kansas City Royals. However, a poor showing (one win) against the White Sox see the Rays fall to the bottom of the heap of teams chasing the Twins. And last week was their easy one.
This week sees three tough games against Minnesota and three more against a struggling-but-potent Boston squad. If Tampa Bay hasn’t joined Toronto & Co. on the season-is-basically-over slide when we do our sixth update, the Rays would have to consider the week at least a partial success.
Kansas City Royals
Overall record (through Sunday): 67-68
Last week: 3-3
This week: At Detroit Tigers (Mon.-Wed.); vs. Minnesota Twins (Thu.-Sun.)
After an up-and-down week that saw losses of 12-0 and 17-0, the Kansas City Royals finished on a high note with a series win over Minnesota. The 5-4 win on Sunday kept the Royals within 3.5 games of the Twins.
This is a week of two incredibly different series for the Kansas City Royals. On the one hand, the Tigers are a team that has seemingly given up on this season. A sweep should be a very realistic goal, but there is no excuse for not winning the series.
What follows is a monumental series against Minnesota. While winning that four-game set would be great, the goal for the weekend should be damage limitation. A split—assuming a series win happened in Detroit—would be sufficient to keep the Kansas City Royals alive.
We’ll see where they land come next Monday.
Overall record (through Sunday): 68-68
Last week: 4-2
This week: At Atlanta Braves (Mon.-Wed.); off Thursday; vs. New York Yankees (Fri.-Sun.)
The Rangers bounced back from a, frankly, embarrassing sweep by the Athletics the last weekend in August to earn a pair of series wins this past week. Texas took two of three against Houston (in Tampa Bay) and at home against Los Angeles. The series with the Angels, though, underscored why this team will struggle to stay in the Wild Card race going forward.
Pitching at the backend of the bullpen is an adventure every outing. On Friday, the Rangers gave up three runs in the seventh and two in the eighth to blow a 9-4 lead before scoring in the bottom of the eighth to get the win. The next night, Texas allowed two runs in the ninth to send the game to extras and lost after it allowed three in the 10th. On Sunday, a 7-3 lead was cut to 7-6 in the ninth inning before the Rangers escaped.
That’s not the recipe to earn a postseason spot, and an injury Adrian Beltre won’t help matters.