There was no motivation for the Tampa Bay Rays to win on Sunday for any sort of playoff position, as they had already clinched the top seed in the American League on Saturday. The only motivation to win was so that they could reach the 40-win plateau in this 60-game shortened season.
Well, the Rays did reach 40 wins, ending their regular season with a 5-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Tropicana Field.
And the game also meant something to Rays' starter Josh Fleming, who pitched his best game as a major leaguer, pitching six innings, allowing no runs on only four hits while striking out five and walking one.
Joey Wendle scored the Rays' first run and added an RBI single, which was more than what the Rays needed, as the Rays swept a desperate Phillies team that had they won one of the three weekend games, would have clinched a playoff spot in the National League.
There may have been a little more focus on scoreboard watching, as the Rays' first-round opponent was unknown prior to the start of the game. A Toronto Blue Jays loss would guarantee the Jays as the Rays' first opponent. But a New York Yankees loss and a Blue Jay win would mean the Yankees would face the Rays in the series starting Tuesday at the Trop.
The Yankees lost to the Marlins, 5-0, but the Jays also lost, 7-5 to the Baltimore Orioles, so it'll be the Jays coming to Tropicana Field Tuesday to face the Rays in the best-of-three Wild Card playoff series.
Games are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, and Thursday, if necessary. All the games will be held in St. Pete by virtue of the Rays winning the AL East.
Tune in to 95.3 WDAE Monday for more details on dates and times of all the playoff games this week.
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