The regular season ends on Sunday and two teams at opposite ends of the spectrum square off for their final four games.
The Royals (65-93, 5th in the AL Central) are wrapping up yet another disappointing campaign, having finished above .500 just one (2003) in the last 16 years. They'll need to overcome a 2.5 game lead by the Cleveland Indians to finish out of last place. The classic "small market" team, they're comprised of young, unheralded players who are likely to either wash out or demand a higher pricetag than the Royals can afford as they develop. They're 4-6 in their last 10 games and most recently took two of three against the division leading Minnesota Twins. They'll send Zack Greinke (9-14, 4.23), probably their most heralded player, to the mound to start the series tonight.
For the Rays (94-64, 1st in the AL East), it's a much different story and have more games to play after this series ends. They locked up a postseason berth on Tuesday and are trying to clinch the AL East division for the second time in three years. The Rays are 5-5 in their last 10 games, having been shout out twice in their most recent series against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field. In spite of their lead being only a half game, a fact that will change one way or another tonight with the Yankees being idle, the Rays are in solid position to capture the flag. If they can just manage a split of these four games, anything but a sweep by the Yankees over their bitter rivals the Red Sox at Fenway Park would win it for the Rays. Trying to get them off to a quick start in the opener will be Matt Garza (15-9, 3.92)