This is actually a big game in Tampa today

I mean it. This game is very important for the Rays and Yankees in Tampa.
I am not being sarcastic or come up with some convoluted ironic rationale.

This game will mean a lot. And maybe loom like a shadow at the end of the season.

Who will win the A.L. East this year?
Barring a miracle or the Mayans being 100% correct, it won’t be the Orioles.
Chances are the Blue Jays will be exciting but playing golf in October.
And if yesterday was any indication, the Red Sox bullpen will conspire to keep them from playing October ball for the third straight year.

The consensus is either the Yankees or the Rays will win the East with the other one playing for the Wild Card.

And there is the rub! Unlike those years when the Red Sox and Yankees each made the post season (1995, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009) there is no “Just rest the starters and sneak in with the Wild Card” option.

Chances are either the Rays or the Yankees will be playing a winner goes to the playoffs and loser goes home game at the end of the year. And the other one will be able to rest their staff at least a day before the Post Season starts.

And what is the best way to finish ahead of the other team? Beat them head to head.
This game means just as much as the six they will play against each other in September.

They will lower the Magic Number by the same amount.

Last year the Yankees and Rays met 18 times. They split those evenly, 9-9. Ten times the games were decided by 2 runs or fewer including the mind boggling, Red Sox destroying 8-7, 12th inning miracle at the Trop to end the season.

This year the Yankees have superior hitting and the Rays better pitching.
Each game could potentially go either way.

Get these wins now.

In 2005, the Red Sox and Yankees, fresh off of the ’04 miracle, began the season with 3 games. The Yankees took the first 2. The Red Sox won the finale.

In the end, the Red Sox and Yankees finished the season tied. However they played 19 games head to head and the Yankees went 10-9, ergo giving them the Division Title.

What if the Red Sox took 2 of 3 instead of dropping 2 of 3 to begin the year?

I noted yesterday, the Red Sox started last year 0-6 and missed the playoffs by one game.

Yeah I know there is a lot of time to make up for lost games.
But isn’t it better to bank games early than try to catch up?

It’s a big game.
It may be April 6, but if the Yankees are using CC Sabathia or the Rays use David Price in a one game playoff, they might think to themselves “Man, we should have won that series in April!”

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First Vazquez… then Redding… will the Yankees bring back Kevin Brown next?

The Yankees signed Tim Redding today and are bringing him back for his second go round with the club.

This picture is from his first stint with the Yankees in 2005. In fact I can’t believe I could find it on the internet…

It’s from the only game he ever pitched in a Yankees uniform.

The first time around he was gone before he could even be fitted for pinstipes. The Yankees pitching staff in 2005 was a mess and only their bats and Mariano Rivera’s dominance kept them in contention.

So on July 15th, the Yankees brought in Tim Redding from San Diego to start a game in Fenway Park.

It didn’t go well. Both Trot Nixon and Jason Varitek hit RBI doubles in the first to make it 3-0.
In the second he walked Mark Bellhorn and Johnny Damon and allowed a single to Edgar Renteria. (Man, what a time capsule that game was… Idiots like Millar, Mueller, Manny and Mirabelli all played in that game. As did the late Geremi Gonzalez.)

Torre lifted him and all of the runners would come around to score.
The Red Sox won 17-1 that day.
Redding’s line was 1 inning pitched, 4 hits, 6 runs (all earned) 4 walks, 2 strikeouts.

The other pitchers Darrell May, Jason Anderson and Buddy Groom fared poorly as well… and like Redding were all long gone by the time the playoffs got started.

The Yankees wound up winning the east thanks to unlikely contributions from Shawn Chacon, Chein Ming Wang and Aaron Small… all of whom made up for the failures of Jaret Wright, Carl Pavano, Kevin Brown, Sean Henn and of course Tim Reding.

With 2004 flop Vazquez coming back and yesterday not withstanding being a disaster it seems like they are trying to have a reunion of those mid 2000s pitching flops.

Of course Vazquez and Redding weren’t teammates in 2005… you had to be quick to have called him a teammate that year. You only had 24 hours.

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