Matt Garza has an interesting way of distilling things down to their essence. Yesterday, after passing through the obligatory cliches, he told Mark Topkin of the St. Pete Times:
“We know the pressure is not on us, it’s on them. And they know it and we know it,” Garza said. “They’re the ones that made all the offseason moves. And we’re just going and going and going. So we’re just going to keep going and keep playing our game and at the end of this three-game series, we’ll see where we’re at.”
It seems a little early for a statement like that but the schedule bears Garza out. Starting tonight, the Rays have 6 games left with Boston.
Those 6 games are Boston’s best chance to get back into the wild card race for several reasons. First, the Rays and Sox have very similar remaining schedules. Both have two more series with the Yankees. Both have two more series with Baltimore.
The only real difference is that Boston has a West Coast swing left to finish (3 in Oakland and 3 in Seattle) while the Rays get their remaining games against the West at home. That trip is tough sledding for east coast teams, particular older teams with a rash of injuries like Boston.
Boston also has two series left with the White Sox, who remain in the hunt for a playoff berth while the Rays only have one series at KC remaining with opponents from the AL Central.
That means that, barring another setback when the Rays travel to Toronto, Boston needs to win at least 4 of its 6 remaining games left with the Rays if it intends to crawl back into the playoff race.d