The AL Wild Card race gets tighter by the day, and the Tampa Bay Rays are enduring a rough stretch, still clinging to the last playoff spot after going 3-7 to start September.
But on Thursday night, they rode a go-ahead eighth-inning double by rookie Wil Myers to beat the Boston Red Sox 4-3.
The win kept the Rays in the second Wild Card spot, just one game ahead of the streaking New York Yankees.
Entering Thursday night’s game, Myers was hitting .288 with 11 home runs and 42 RBI in only 264 at-bats, though he is hitting .306 in September. The trade made with the Kansas City Royals (a six-player trade that also sent James Shields to Kansas City) is one of those rare instances where it worked out perfectly for both sides.
With Shields the undisputed ace of the Royals’ staff, Myers is providing some much-needed offense for a streaky ballclub. He is every bit the superstar prospect that he was touted to be and will be an integral offensive piece in the future as the Rays continue to cultivate tremendous young pitching.
There is still work to be done in 2013, though.
There are 17 games left for the Rays, seven of which are against AL East opponents. To come out of this final stretch as a playoff team is going to take more clutch hitting from Myers.
From the looks of it, he’s up to the task.