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Punch-line no more!

Maybe that was true months ago, but tonight added the exclamation point.

I wasn’t really confident going into tonight. No Rays fan should have been. I spent four hours of my life repeating to myself: “it’s just a game… it’s just a game,” but if you put a finger on my wrist you wouldn’t need a stopwatch to know I was having trouble convincing myself.

Listening to Andrew Friedman speak, I’m going to say something that a lot of people are (and should be) saying: trading Delmon Young for Matt Garza looks really smart right now. The Rays gave up a phenom… a tremendously talented, number one overall pick in Young – who doubled as a cancer in the locker room. The picked up a pitcher with tremendous stuff, but one who often couldn’t keep his head on his shoulders. Not only did Garza keep his head in the second half, he took the ball twice in the ALCS, including game seven, and pitched lights out.

Yeah, folks rightly point to the other guy in the trade (Jason Bartlett) as a key addition, and I don’t mean to take anything away from his contributions this season – which were considerable. But watching Garza tonight I saw a guy who could contend for Cy Young awards.

Now I just hope the Rays aren’t on the verge of being fed into the chipper by the Phillies. I’ve never paid much attention to the National League, but they sound a little scary. The Rays’ bullpen is going to have to find their way really quick. They may not have allowed any runs tonight, but anyone who says they looked good was watching a different game.

They’ve got until Wednesday. I’ll tell you what though, seeing a little more David Price might do the trick.

In the mean time, AL Champs sounds pretty good.

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Give the gift of words.