In order for the Rays to qualify for the postseason in 2012, they need to win their final three games of the season against the Baltimore Orioles, and have the Texas Rangers sweep the Oakland Athletics.
Should such a situation occur, the Rays and A's would be tied for the second wild card, forcing a 163rd game to decide who the American League's second wild card team would be -- and that assumes that the Los Angeles Angels lose one game to the Seattle Mariners, too.
Since the Rays could be eliminated after Monday night, Rays manager Joe Maddon hasn't ruled out benching Longoria for the last two games of the season, to allow the oft-injured slugger a chance to rest. Per Marc Topkin, the decision could ultimately be Longoria's.
This could affect the New York Yankees' chances of winning the AL East, as the Yankees enter Monday night's game tied with the Orioles atop the AL East. Obviously, Longoria's presence in the lineup makes the Rays a much stronger team.
We'll see what happens if the Rays are eliminated this week.