Does 9=8 or does 9=9?

The Rays manager gave them a mantra at the start of the season: 9=8.  The explanation:  9 guys playing to their potential as a team means becoming one of the 8 teams to make the playoffs.  Also, get 9 more wins from the offense, 9 more wins from the defense, and 9 more wins from the pitching, and that’ll give them 93 wins this season, which should be enough to make it into the playoffs.

Well they have achieved that, and now have exceeded it.  They have 95 wins with 5 games left to play, and they keep on winning.  Which brings me to the question:  will they artfully demonstrate their mantra, 9=8, by finishing with 98 wins?  Will they finish with 99 wins, thus seeming to demonstrate that no, math is math, and 9 always does and always will equal 9 and only 9?

Well, let’s see.  They have 8 road games in 7 days to finish the season, and have won the first 3.  The remaining 5 are against two of the three coldest and worst teams in the American League, the Orioles and the Tigers.  They are motivated to keep winning to attempt to both catch the Angels for the best record in  the American League, and stay ahead of the Red Sox for the division title.  The only mitigating factors are that those “chasing” motivations may be gone by the last couple of games, at which point they’ll want to rest players for the playoffs, and also they’re playing on the road, where their record isn’t nearly as good.

I think they’ll finish with one of these, 98 or 99 wins, but it is hard to decide which.  Time to decide.

I like too much the poetry of 98 to mirror 9=8.  I predict the Rays will finish with a 98 and 64 record.