Friday September 24, 2010 | 06:14 AM

Tampa Bay and David Price beat the Yankees and C.C. Sabbathia 10-3 to move withing a half-game of New York. The two teams are even in the loss column (NYY at 92-61, TB at 91-61).

Idle Boston (84-68) dropped to seven games behind the Rays. Tampa Bay's magic number for the playoffs is now 4.

Price was the No. 1 overall draft choice in 2007. Tampa Bay has had a few of those high draft picks and have usually used them well.

B.J.. Upton (second overall pick in the draft) came in 2002, and Evan Longoria (third overall) was chosen in 2006. Starter Jeff Niemann (fourth overall) came in 2004.

In 2003, Tampa Bay had the overall first pick and chose outfielder Delmon Young. He was dealt to Minnesota for Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett.

Tampa Bay also has Carl Crawford (second round, 1999) and pitcher Wade Davis (third round, 2004).

And just think if Josh Hamilton (first overall in 1999) had his act together early on?

The Rays have done well with the draft. Of course, with the Rays' success, those high first round picks will no longer be there.

And, eventually, those good players will reach free agency (which is why this is likely Crawford's final year). It is tough to compete as a small market team, especially in the American League East. Tampa Bay has done well to make a run of it the past few years.



About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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