MLB

Remaining schedule favors Jays

Dioner Narvarro & Chad Qualls (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Tampa Bay Rays catcher Dioner Narvarro embraces closer Chad Qualls.
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Ken Rosenthal

Ken Rosenthal has been the FOXSports.com's Senior MLB Writer since August 2005. He appears weekly on MLB on FOX, FOX Sports Radio and MLB Network. He's a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter.

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NEW YORK

Rays manager Joe Maddon is well aware of the schedule.

The Rays play their next six games at home against two last-place teams, the Mariners and Orioles, before finishing with four on the road against a team nearly in last place, the Royals.

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The Yankees, on the other hand, play their final nine games against teams with winning records, hosting the Red Sox for three (MLB on Fox, Saturday, 4:10 p.m. ET), then visiting Toronto and Boston.

The Jays lead the league in homers, though they are only eighth in runs. The Red Sox, for all their injuries, need to finish only 6-4 for 90 wins.

“I know how the schedule lines up. I know on paper it looks good,” Maddon said after the Rays pulled within a half-game of the Yankees in the AL East on Thursday night, beating them, 10-3.

“From my perspective, I don’t think anything for granted . . . I’ve been an anti-assumptionist the last several years. I don’t want to start now.”

Fair enough, but the Rays already have ensured that they would win the AL East tiebreaker by taking the season series from the Yankees, 10-8.

Winning the division would gain them home-field advantage for the first round and enable them to face the Rangers instead of the Twins — a good deal for the Rays all around.

Rays creep closer

Carl Crawford and the Tampa Bay Rays roughed up CC Sabathia on Thursday to pull within a half-game of the AL East lead.

The Rangers are 36-41 on the road this season, and their left-handed duo of Cliff Lee and C.J. Wilson would be a greater advantage against the Yankees than against the Rays.

Lee is 0-3 with a 4.56 ERA in three starts against the Rays this season. Wilson also was not effective in his only start against the Rays, allowing five runs — three earned — in five innings.

The Rays overall are a stunning 35-18 when the opponent starts a left-hander, including two recent wins in games started by the Yankees’ ace lefty, CC Sabathia.

Ah, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Ten games to go.

Don’t want to be an assumptionist.

Tagged: Yankees, Rangers

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