Is it just me, or did that road trip seem to last forever? It was certainly defined by comeback wins. The Rays trailed in the final three innings in five of their six wins. The other game was the Garza vs. Halladay donnybrook that went into extras. Six wins on a ten game road trip is great, and we were a strike away from another win in Chicago. But when you are facing these types of opponents you'd like to see the Rays put the game away a little quicker.
It goes without saying that this home stand is huge. Five games against New York and Boston (with four against the Royals in between. We're undefeated against the Royals this year, so it would be nice to continue that). Pitching matchups for the Yankees series:
James Shields vs. AJ Burnett
Scott Kazmir vs. CC Sabathia
Matt Garza vs. Joba Chamberlain (National TV game on ESPN).
It seems like the Rays mindset is that they're chasing the division leader at all time, not the wild card. Probably smart by them. It wasn't long ago that the Sox had the edge, and that could always change again. The Yankees are on pace for 100 wins, and they don't have the look and feel of a team that is going to win 100 games. Yes, they lead MLB in runs scored, but that figure is bloated by the new Yankee Stadium. The run differential is more indicative and that number is about the same for the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays (+77, +78, +73 respectively).
An interesting sub plot to this weeks games will be the non-waiver trade deadline that is upon us. It would seem that the Yankees Rays are going to stand pat with what they have, and the Red Sox seem to have already made the moves they had intended to make. But who knows. If some NL team comes calling looking for an arm and makes Friedman an offer he can't refuse for Kazmir....you never know.