October in Tampa • For the first time in franchise history, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are Playoff-bound. Back in Spring Training, everyone laughed when starter Scott Kazmir said his Rays were going to the dance. After all, the team had finished in last place the previous season. Well, who's laughing now?
“I knew we had something here. I knew we had the depth. I knew we had the pitching,” Kazmir, drenched in champagne and beer, said. “I knew we had everything. We just had to put it together, and we did.” "This is amazing, man. This is really amazing," Carlos Pena said. "This is what you play for. To think that so many people go their entire careers and never experience anything like this - I'm so appreciative."
Good times. • The Chicago Cubs are also going to the postseason this year, after winning their second straight division title. For the first time in a century, Chicago's favorite baseball team (sorry, Sox) is going to be playing in the Playoffs in back-to-back seasons. Which can only mean one thing: Let the curse talk begin already. • It's the Phillies' turn to momentarily hold the lead in the NL East. The Mets fell half a game back in the standings last night, with Philly taking down the Marlins in a tight, one-run game. Relief pitcher Brad Lidge knows what the key to victory was:
“The bullpen as a whole was outstanding,” Lidge said. “I’m a little biased, but I think that’s what won the game tonight.”
• In the penultimate game for their historic ballpark, the Yankees pulled out a 1-0 win over the Orioles. Robinson Cano's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth was the difference, but the big story was an injury to Derek Jeter's hand after he got hit by a pitch. Jeter was forced to leave the game, but you can probably guess as to what his status is for tonight's grand finale.
“I don’t need to ask,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s not broken. It’s sore.”
So, there's that.