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Wild Card

Rays looking more like a pretender each day

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When the All-Star break arrived on July 9, the Tampa Bay Rays were legitimate contenders for a playoff berth. They were 47-43 and tied for second place with the New York Yankees in the American League East. They were three and one-half games behind the division-leading Boston Red Sox thanks to taking three of four games at home heading into the break. This space said “one month from now it should be clear whether they can actually contend for a…

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Rays enjoying extended stretch of winning baseball

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The Rays will enjoy an off day on Thursday after traveling back from the Pacific Time Zone. Their most recent road trip ended on a couple of sour notes, but there is plenty to be pleased about. Tampa Bay lost the final game in Oakland on Wednesday, Jake Faria lost his first game as a Rays starter, and Steven Souza, Jr. suffered a hip injury. But the good far outweighs the bad.

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Rays set to discover if they are contenders … or pretenders

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The Tampa Bay Rays begin the second half of the season on Friday when they kick off a six-game road trip in the Pacific Time Zone. They hope to continue their momentum after winning 6 of their last 9 games heading into the all-star break, including taking three of four from the Boston Red Sox.

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Lightning’s Steven Stamkos still watching as his knee heals

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The calvary might not be in a hurry to rescue the Tampa Bay Lightning. Although injured center Steven Stamkos took part in a full practice Friday, he still has no timetable for his return. He might not make it back before the end of the regular season, which has 12 games to go. The Lightning continues to exist just beyond the final wild-card berth, “When it’s 100 percent, I’ll be back,” Stamkos said Friday to the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s…

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Lightning clobbered by Toronto in its race toward the NHL playoffs

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Think of the ice at Amalie Arena as a giant windshield. Now think of the Tampa Bay Lightning as a bug. Splat. Got it? The Lightning, playing so well as of late, were clobbered at home in Thursday night’s game, losing 5-0 to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Bolts, who had just passed the Leafs in the standings, now are playing chance once again. Lightning coach Jon Cooper said it was his team’s defense, which had been good lately, that…

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Lightning struggles again in disappointing loss to Boston

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This is the way it’s going for the Tampa Bay Lightning: Badly. This is the way it’s going: The Bolts finally get a game with three goals … and goaltender Ben Bishop gives up four. This is the way it’s going: The Lightning finally gets a breakaway in the third period of Thursday night’s game…and Tyler Johnson passes the puck backward instead of taking a shot. This is the way it’s going: Tampa Bay defenseman Anton Stralman is hit from…

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Drive to Super Bowl continues on Sunday

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Two teams took the first step toward the Super Bowl on Saturday. With Houston and Seattle moving on, two more games will set up the NFL’s Elite 8. Here are Sunday’s matchups. Miami (10-6) at Pittsburgh (11-5), Sunday at 1:05 p.m. (CBS) Miami is making its first playoff appearance since 2008 and is looking for its first postseason win since the wild-card round in 2000. Quarterback Matt Moore will make his first postseason start for the Dolphins with Ryan Tannehill…

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