Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Welcome Sign Taken Down for Traveling Rays

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Welcome Sign Taken Down for Traveling Rays

Article excerpt

Sporting sunglasses, a teal shirt and a backpack hanging from his shoulder, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon looked like a tourist as he arrived late for his news conference.

Maddon didn't have time to slip into his uniform and had a valid excuse. The Rays have been on the road. In the past week, they've gone from Tampa to New York to Toronto to Texas to Cleveland, a journey covering 3,627 miles.

Tonight, the Rays hope to book a trip to Boston.

Getting a complete game from starter David Price, Tampa Bay beat Texas, 5-2, in a tiebreaker on Monday night, earning the Rays a wild- card spot for the third time in four years and a chance to face the Indians, making their first appearance in October since 2007.

Forced to win almost every day down the stretch as they went neck- and-neck-and-neck with the Indians and Rangers in a thrilling wild- card scramble in the final weeks of September, the Rays won Sunday in Toronto before traveling deep in the heart of Texas and surviving a win-or-go-home scenario.

"I'll tell you what," said Maddon, whose team went 14-5 after Sept. 12. "We've already played this wild-card game a couple times. We did it in Toronto a couple days ago. We did it yesterday in Texas, and we're going to come here tomorrow and do it again."

Tonight's winner will meet the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 of the American League Divisional Series on Friday.

"When you get into this momentum kind of a thing on a daily basis and you're playing great competition and you're going from city to city to city and it's an adverse territory, all of this stuff is what you train for and you really dig and you love it," Maddon said.

"You don't have time to get nervous or overthink, you've just got to get ready and go play -- and for our guys, they kind of like that moment right now."

Like the Rays, the Indians had to scrap their way into the postseason. …

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