The Tampa Bay Rays returned home to St. Petersburg to face the slumping Texas Rangers in a battle of the top two teams in the American League Wild Card race. On Sunday afternoon the Rays bullpen threw away another late lead against the Minnesota Twins while the Rangers have been swept in their last two series.
This series for the Rays will either make or break their 2013 campaign. For most of the season many Rays fans have thought that this was one of the best squads to play in a Tampa Bay uniform and in truth it has been. However, their current offensive funk has come at the worst possible time of the season and unless they can shock some life into their bats the season could end with fans watching the playoffs from home.
Monday night’s game showed how potent the Rays’ bats could be and it came against a former teammate. Matt Garza took the hill for the Rangers and was knocked out of the game by the fifth inning largely in part to six earned runs against him. Alex Cobb was masterful and earned his ninth win of the season in an eight inning, ten-strikeout performance.
Wil Myers started the scoring for the offense with an opposite field solo homerun in the second inning and added a two-run double in the fifth inning. The Rays scored four runs in the fifth and gave Cobb enough run support for Tampa Bay to win the game and take sole possession of first place in the Wild Card race.
Cobb earned his first win since August 20th and was spectacular against the ice-cold Rangers offense. Cobb only walked one batter and allowed two earned runs.
The series continues on Tuesday night and features the match-up of Jeremy Hellickson for the Rays against Alexi Ogando for the Rangers.