Found August 23, 2012 on hardballchat.com:
Rangers_vs_rays_6a6b


The Tampa Bay Rays were able to overcome a monumental task last September in order to reach the post-season. A monumental collapse by the Boston Red Sox along with an improbable victory over the New York Yankees in the last game of the season, sent the Rays to the playoffs once again. Could that same scenario be unfolding once again? Tampa Bay is now within striking distance of the New York Yankees and a possible AL East division title. The Yankees have now lost three straight games and five of their last ten. The return of 3B Evan Longoria has jump started the Rays offense as Tampa has won 13 of their last 16 contests, climbing right into the playoff race. The Rays are currently in the lead for the top wildcard berth in the AL. Tampa can increase their lead in the wildcard contest as they are set to open a three-game series with the Oakland A’s in St. Petersburg this evening. On June 9, the Rays held a 1/2 game lead over the Yankees for the AL East lead. That slim lead evaporated as injuries continued to take their toll on the Rays roster over the next several week. By the All-Star break, the Yankees held a 7 1/2 game lead. On August 1, that lead slipped a game with New York up by six games. Now, the Rays are just three games behind the Yankees. The catalyst for the surge in offensive production, Evan Longoria, has moved out of the DH position and is playing in the field at his natural position, 3B. This week, Tampa got the services of DH Luke Scott back after he returned from the DL after suffering from a strained oblique. Longoria has been eased back into the lineup after recovering from his hamstring tear but after yesterday’s matinee, he told reporters that he feels good and wants to play everyday. Longoria said that his legs actually felt better on Tuesday when he played 3B and said that playing in the field rather than in the DH role helps him stay more focused on the game rather than sitting around between at bats. This will be an interesting final six weeks of the regular season. Tampa’s schedule in AL East focused in the final month of the season with six games remaining with New York, Boston and Baltimore. Six games remain with the Texas Rangers as well.        
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