Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
The Texas Rangers have added game No. 163 to the regular-season schedule.
Beating the Angels 6-2 for their seventh win in a row Sunday afternoon, the Rangers forced a one-game tiebreaker with the Tampa Bay Rays for the second AL wild-card spot. The Rays beat Toronto 7-6 earlier Sunday.
The Indians, who closed the regular season on a 10-game win streak, clinched the first wild-card berth.
The Rangers will host Tampa Bay on Monday night. The winner plays two days later at Cleveland in another win-or-be-done match-up.
Thanks to the Rays and Rangers both winning yesterday, we now face a scenario where we have to consider three potential payoff opponents. The question now is: Who do you want to take on?
For me, unquestionably number one is Cleveland. Yes, they've got some of that same scrappiness that the Sox have. Yes, they're coming in on a winning streak. But for much of the year, Cleveland has faced cream puffs. You can only play the schedule you're given, but the Indians, despite their record, haven't proven that they're of the same quality as any of the other playoff teams.
Their starting pitchers are the weakest of the three teams, and their bullpen is in a bit of disarray thanks to Chris Perez losing his closer job in the midst of a 10-game winning streak. How is that even possible? Throw in absolutely no home-field advantage and a lack of familiarity with the Sox, and the Indians seem the most beatable to me. The only thing that potentially scares me is Terry Francona's knowledge of many of the players, but if the manager is your biggest concern, that's a sign that the team isn't much to worry about.
Next is the Rangers. Their lineup is better than Tampa's, but to me this comes down to pitching. Behind Yu Darvish, their rotation isn't as deep as the Rays'. Playing in Arlington doesn't really affect the Sox -- it's not like Fenway is some pitcher-friendly dream.
The Rays are without question who we want to avoid. With Matt Moore, David Price, Chris Archer, Alex Cobb...the list goes on...I want nothing to do with that rotation. The idea that they could potentially go down to a three-man rotation and we'd have to see Moore and Price twice each is terrifying (although complete conjecture on my part, I doubt the Rays have tipped their hand as to what the rotation would be).
So tune into tonight's Rangers/Rays game, put on your nicest Martin Perez jersey, and start pulling for Texas. We can't let the Rays get any closer.
Then Wednesday we can start singing "Cleveland Rocks."
(Npw watch Cleveland get in and sweep us...)
Herald | Felix Doubront likely not in ALDS plans | John Farrell happy to reward John Lackey with final day off | Jacoby Ellsbury OK for October | Globe | Red Sox look to playoffs after 7-6 loss to Orioles | Red Sox await the wild card winner | CSNNE | Bullpen fails Sox in 7-6 loss to O's | Doubront's playoff roster spot still in question | ESPNBoston | Rapid Reaction: Orioles 7, Red Sox 6 | Right where they want to be