By  ISM Staff


Gents, and I’m talking to all of you, I think you’re going to be totally shocked with my choice for the team I don’t want to see show up in Tampa for the playoffs.  Brooklyn, not the Yankees.  South Beach, negative on the Blue Jays.  Mass Man, nada on the Red Sox.  It is the Mariners and here’s why.

Let’s look at how Tampa Bay has fared against the teams they can possibly play in the post season.  Going into the last two games, the Rays are 10-7 against New York.  They are 11-8 versus Boston.  TB has the same record playing Toronto.  Pretty much had their three American League East counterparts number in 2021,

So, how about we examine the other AL participant, shall we?  Tampa Bay split the season series with the White Sox with each team winning three games.  The Rays were on the wrong side of the dash against the Astros winning two and losing 4.

Now, that takes us to Seattle.  The Mariners won six of the seven games against Tampa Bay.  Yes, my colleagues, you’re reading that right.  The Rays could only muster one win and it was the last game of the season series.  The Rays lost six straight to the AL West franchise.

Sometimes, one team just has the other’s number for whatever reason.  The M’s, this year, are that team when it comes to TB and the Rays don’t want to see Seattle show up at the Trop until the 2022 season.

Group, that’s my thoughts.  What’s yours?

Fellas, at first glance, I would say that the Toronto Blue Jays, with that high-powered offense and solid starting rotation would be a formidable opponent for the Rays.  But, Tampa Bay handled them at a 11 – 8 clip and that is indicative to how the Rays dominated the AL East.

I hate to agree with Low Ball, but the numbers don’t lie.  The Rays have struggled against and would continue to struggle against the Mariners.  Tampa was 1 – 6 against Seattle this season and their AL West foil could cause some real problems for the Rays, as LB mentioned.  Toronto may miss the playoffs with a +175 run differential with Seattle making the playoffs with a -47 differential.  Yet, Seattle matches up well with Tampa and will be problematic if they face each other.  Of course, both Seattle and Toronto have to win and get help from other teams to even make the playoffs!

Adam Sznapstajler

Low Ball and Brooklyn, I’m going to have to go with Mass Man here and take the Yankees. Although the season long statistics might tell otherwise, that ignores New York’s forgettable first half.

Overall, no team has as many experienced, series changing bats as the Yanks. A player like Giancarlo Stanton can easily go on a run and win you a series. And I’m not just saying that as a sad Marlins fans. Additionally, the possibility of being able to throw out a World Series champion ace like Gerrit Cole twice in a five game series provides the Yankees with something that can reek havoc on the Rays.

As a baseball fan, probably scarred by the Marlins franchise, I always have a problem choosing little brother in these matchups. No matter what the stats might say, I will always have a hard time choosing the Rays over the Yankees so I’ll take the Bombers here. Although I do hope they just lose to the Sox in the Wild Card game.

Lowball and Brooklyn, I hear everything you’re saying, but I’m going to have to disagree with both of you on this one. If there’s any team the Rays don’t want to face in the playoffs, I’m going with the Bronx Bombers, and here’s why.

Although the Rays are 11-8 against the Yanks this season, the last time Tampa trotted onto the same field as the New York Yankees was late July, with the exception of the final three game set, and New York looks like a completely different team now than they did at that point in the season. Since then, the Yankees have had two hot streaks, surged back to the top of the wild card standings,  and are playing their best baseball of the season. Stanton and Judge are destroying baseballs at the plate, the Yankees finally got Kluber, Severino, German, and Loaisiga back on the mound after spending time on the injured list, and keep finding ways to win ball games during the most important stretch of their season. 

The Rays are currently wrapping up their season in the Bronx before they host whoever comes out of the Wild Card game. Last night’s game against the Yanks was a nail biter, with the Yankees scoring 2 runs in the 9th before coming up short leaving guys on first and second with 1 out and a chance to send it into extra innings or even win it in regulation. The Yankees have been fighting their way back into games, and winning most of them, for the last week when it has mattered most for them, and last night Tampa was lucky to survive. If NY can win the Wild Card game at home without stretching Cole’s arm too much, Tampa could have to face the Cy Young candidate twice and a Yankees lineup that has shown in recent weeks that they can put runs on the board late in games and completely swing the momentum of a contest with one swing of the bat. 

There’s a completely different type of mentality teams play with when playoff baseball comes around. The Yankees have shown the ability to rise to the occasion as of late, and for weeks have basically been fighting for their season as if every game has been a playoff game. The last few post seasons have had heartbreaking endings for the Bronx Bombers, especially last year with Tampa ending their season in the ALDS. This year, if the Yankees and the Rays face off again in the ALDS, I think the Yankees have a great shot at revenge and returning the favor.