Rays blew their playoff chances

Rays fans must wonder how a full season of Matt Moore would have impacted the AL East race. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

When we flipped the calendars two weeks ago, it looked like we were in line for the most boring September in recent memory in terms of playoff races. But a couple of key injuries here, a couple of sweeps there, and all of a sudden there's a glimmer of hope for some late-season drama.

One place where such drama exists is the AL wild-card race, as the Boston Red Sox roster suddenly resembles a M*A*S*H unit. The Tampa Bay Rays have gotten hot, sweeping the Red Sox last weekend, with another four-game series beginning tonight at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox remain the overwhelming statistical favorites -- being up four with 14 to play is a sizable mountain -- but one is forced to wonder what the standings would look like if the Rays had spent more time this year focusing on the present as opposed to the future.