While I correctly predicted the Cleveland Indians would be in the AL Wild Card game, my visions of an American League pennant for the Tribe will not be realized.
On Wednesday night, the Tampa Bay Rays earned their second AL Wild Card championship in three years by beating the Indians 4-0 in front of a stunned crowd at Cleveland's Progressive Field. Despite collecting nine hits, the Indians could not cash in a single run. Alex Cobb, Joel Peralta, Jake McGee and Fernando Rodney combined on a nine-hit shutout.
After pitching two scoreless innings, the Rays got to rookie Danny Salazar with a solo home run by Delmon Young in the third and a two run double by Desmond Jennings in the fourth. The final nail in the coffin was a ninth inning error by Cleveland first baseman Nick Swisher which led to the Rays' fourth run.
The Rays travel to Boston to face the Red Sox in the ALDS beginning Friday. The Rays and Red Sox previously faced each other in the post-season during the ALCS in 2008. I remember this series well as I was at Fenway for Game 5 when the Red Sox, down three games to one, came back from a 7-0 deficit in the 7th inning and elimination to win 8-7 on a walk-off single by J.D. Drew.
Of course, Game 5 of the 2008 ALCS isn't so well remembered in Red Sox Nation because the Rays ended up winning Game 7 to earn their first American League pennant.
Regardless of the outcome of this forthcoming series, anytime the Red Sox and Rays face off you can be guaranteed to see baseball played at its highest quality.