As Erik Boland wrote yesterday, this weekend's series between the Devil Rays and Yankees at Tropicana Field is more important than perhaps any series either has played yet this season. No matter what any Yankee tells you.
With the Yankees holding a two game lead over the Rays heading into tonight's contest, the top of the AL East may look very different come Sunday night.
With direct playoff ramifications on the line, fans from the Tampa-St. Peter are have flocked to the ticket office, and sold out the entirety of the Yankee-Rays games for this weekend. The Rays normally average under 20,000 per game. It's the first time the Rays have sold out three consecutive games.
So that begs the question, what will The Trop be like tonight? Will it be shaking? Will it be silent? How will it effect the Yankees chances of winning this series and staying put in first? Feel free to chime in. Here is what the Rays Carl Crawford had to say.
"After the All-Star break, every game is a big deal. I'm pretty sure it's going to be real loud. It should be exciting for the fans, and hopefully we can win the series and keep everybody excited."
Carlos Pena's take: "I think it's going to be very intense, and we always welcome that.Who doesn't love playing in front of big crowds? That's really a dream right there. When you have a packed house, you cannot even hear yourself talk.''
Here is what Joe Maddon had to say:
"I'm sure there's going to be quite a vibe. I just think whenever we get our full house in here, our guys feel it, and it's kind of fun for everybody. We just played up there (dropping two of three at Yankee Stadium); I thought it was an interesting series right after the All-Star break. They're still playing well, we're playing well; I think it will be interesting."
The Yankees are 4-4 against the Rays this year. Game time is 7:10.