Entering Wednesday's game against Texas, Tampa Bay (77-64) was eight games behind Boston in the American League Wild Card race. But the Rays aren't in panic mode.
"We just take it day by day," B.J. Upton said. "We just try to win a game a day, and if not a game, try to win a series."
"There has to be a little bit of a sense of urgency," Evan Longoria said. "The season's winding down. We don't have a lot of time left."
On Tuesday, Rays manager Joe Maddon referenced the 1964 Cardinals surpassing the Phillies to clinch the National Leage pennant. The Cards, who were 6 1/2 games back in September, capitalized on the Phillies' epic collapse and went on to beat the Yankees in the World Series.
"You've got to be within a mathematical chance when you're in that last week of the season," Maddon said. "And I'd say a realistic mathematical chance where you don't have to win like seven in a row or six in a row."
At this point, the Rays are under the radar.
"We've always kind of been that way," Longoria said. "I think the only season that we really had a target on our back was after 2008, going into that ['09] season. But other than that, yeah, we've just kind of flown under the radar and played pretty well."
The Rays are in control of their own destiny, with seven more games to play against the Red Sox -- who come to Tropicana Field this weekend -- and six more games against the AL East-leading Yankees.
"I think it's to our advantage that we have a lot of games left in our division against Boston and New York," Longoria said, "and we're going to have lots of opportunities to gain some ground and eventually catch them if we continue to play well."