Rays admit Monday's game 'has a playoff feel to it'

July 29, 2013 - 1:47 pm

The Rays return to Boston Monday night to conclude their series against the Red Sox, and Rays manager Joe Maddon admitted prior to the game that it feels a little different. "It has a playoff feel to it," Maddon said. "It really does. We're here to play one game, so it has that connotation to it. I kind of like it." Since the All-Star break the Red Sox and Rays have both created a little distance from contenders Baltimore and New York. Baltimore is now five games out of first place and New York trails the Red Sox by 7½ games. There is still a lot of baseball to be played, but as of now, it appears the Rays and Sox have a good shot to be playing baseball in October. "I don't see why not," Rays infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist responded when asked about the likelihood of both the Rays and Sox making the playoffs. "Two good teams. Good pitching, good offense, good defense. I don't see why we wouldn't both be there come the end of September." It is only July 29, but this one game "series" could preview how important winning the division could be for either team. And the Rays certainly aren't downplaying the importance of the game. "We're excited to be back here playing for first place," Rays rookie Wil Myers said. "We're out here playing for something already. Everyone gets pretty pumped up for games like this one." The season won't end for the losing team on Monday night, but a win could go a long way.