Originally written on Fox Sports  |  Last updated 10/20/14
The Tampa Bay Rays' recent struggles may have cost them a shot at the AL East title. Reaching the postseason at all could be in doubt if they continue to falter. The Rays will try to begin ending their sluggish stretch by capitalizing on the Seattle Mariners in the opener of this three-game set at Safeco Field on Friday night. Tampa Bay (77-62) has lost nine of 12 games after falling 6-2 to the Los Angeles Angels, settling for a split of the four-game series. Those struggles have severely dented the Rays' hopes of catching Boston for the division lead, dropping 6 1/2 games back with 23 to play. That likely means their best chance to return to the postseason will be through the wild card, and they hold the second spot. However, Tampa Bay's lead is just 2 1/2 games on New York, while Baltimore and Cleveland lurk three back. Part of the Rays' issues have been at the plate, where they're hitting .227 and averaging 2.6 runs during their rough patch. Evan Longoria has been one of t...
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