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Evening Shade: Look, if the Rays are going to do something

Big League Stew

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Most weekday evenings, the Stew looks at five approaching games worth monitoring. As they occur, feel free to discuss the night's happenings in the comment section below.

Red Sox at Rays, 7:08 ET ... they're going to have to start tonight and actually follow through for once. The defending AL champs are five games behind Boston for the AL wild card and, as DB noted this morning, they'll probably need a home sweep the next three days if they want to catch them. (They'll get three more games against the Red Sox in Boston later this month.) Luckily, the Red Sox haven't played all that well in St. Petersburg; Tampa Bay has won 14 of the previous 16 meetings in SoFla, a mark that does not include a spring training shuffleboard mixer between the two teams.

Blue Jays at Rangers, DH, In progress Toronto and Texas are playing two today and the Rangers have a chance to make/gain ground on both Boston and Tampa Bay, no matter what happens. But though winning two Major League games against a downtrodden team seems like free money, it rarely works out that way. Really, it's the baseball equivalent of splitting aces when you're at the blackjack table. Lots of 2s and 3s can be showing up this late in the year.

Giants at Phillies, 7:05 So what does San Francisco get for last weekend's re-entry into the NL wild card lead? A date across the country with Cole Hamels(notes) and the Phillies in Philadelphia of course. The good news is that Hamels went 0-3 with a 4.91 ERA in five August starts.

Mets at Rockies, 8:40 The NL wild card's other co-leader gets off a little easier and the Rox probably can use it after losing five straight games. The team begins a 10-game homestand against the Mets, D'Backs and Reds starting tonight at Coors Field.

Braves at Marlins, 7:10 Hey, did you forget about these two teams, who are 3.0 and 4.0 games, respectively, behind those sexier NL Westies? No? Well, then how about tonight's Braves starter, Tim Hudson(notes)? He last started a game for Atlanta on July 23, 2008 — a win over Florida, coincidentally — and has been out with an elbow ever since.

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