It was a nine-game road trip that could easily have led their season down a path to ruin. Instead, the Tampa Bay Rays return home from a make-or-break journey with their playoff hopes unbroken.
Just like that, the Rays are back on their feet thanks to their arms.
First there was the back-to-back shutout efforts of Matt Moore and Jeremy Hellickson this past weekend in Anaheim, giving the Rays a surprise lift against the top AL Wild Card seed at the time, the Angels.
And then came the truly unexpected: taking two out of three against the Oakland As, the hottest team in baseball that had moved into the lead Wild Card spot. But Tampa Bay muscled the As into submission with wins of 8-0 Tuesday night and 4-1 Wednesday afternoon, powered by sensational back-to-back outings from James Shields and Alex Cobb.
It was hardly the scenario you would have imagined after Oakland spoiled another strong outing Monday night by David Price, finally pulling out a 4-3 victory in 15 innings that left...