Alright, I have thrown in the towel on my beloved Colorado Rockies. The boys from Blake Street showed a little promise with that small winning streak they put together just after the all star break. But as the season begins to wind down, it doesn’t look like they will be able to put together the success they need to catch the Diamondbacks or the Dodgers in time to make the playoffs.
As of Thursday morning, the Rockies found themselves eight games back from Arizona and L.A., who are tied for the top spot in the National League West. For August, the Rox haven’t been playing terrible ball – they were 5-6 as of Aug.1 – but they need to be playing lights-out ball to gain ground on the division leaders and they aren’t doing so. As the Rox flame begins to burn, a sparkling, young blue-collar baseball team has caught my eye over in the dreaded American League.
How about those Tampa Bay Devil Rays? On Thursday they remained three games ahead of the Bo Sox and a whopping nine games ahead of the Yanks in the American League East. Where in the hell did these guys come from? It is usually about now that I am stricken with so much disgust for the Red Sox/Yankees domination of that division that I just can’t watch another pitch of baseball on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. But now we have a dark horse in our midst and I can only show excitement for a team that nobody seems to hear or know about.
Right now, the Rays are facing a tough phase of injuries while they head out for a long road trip. Outfielder Carl Crawford underwent surgery yesterday to repair the subluxation of his right middle finger tendon, which occurred last Saturday during the Rays’ 11-inning win over Seattle. Crawford is a two-time All Star and was not on an 11-game hitting streak when he went down with the injury.
Rookie All Star third baseman Evan Langoria is also on the 15-day disabled list because of a broken wrist. Without the help of Crawford and Langoria, two of the Rays’ best offensive and defensive players, it will be a daunting task to stay ahead of the Red Sox and the Yankees. The Rays have already set a franchise record for victories with their 71st win earlier this week. I for one, as I am sure the blue-hairs on St. Pete’s Beach will agree, hope they can continue to win with the outstanding play of the rest of the team during this time of need.
“You go around and there’s been a lot of guys who have helped us get to this point, some with limited playing time,” Andrew Friedman, vice president of baseball operations at Tampa Bay, told the Associated Press last week. “A few of these guys are going to get more at-bats and more playing time, and we have confidence they will help keep us in the position that we’re in today.”
Indeed, staying in that top position in the American League East is of utmost importance because the Red Sox aren’t backing down – they continue to play confident, winning baseball. Since Aug. 1, the Sox have gone 9-3, seemingly having a new, athletic looking start once they got rid of the lazy-looking Manny Ramirez.
And should the Rays (and the Sox for that matter) care about the Yankees? Simply put: No, they suck.
Since Aug. 1, the Yankees are looking terrible, going 5-8 behind old Rox catcher and now manager Joe Girardi. The Yankees of late look worn out. Bleak hitting and Little League-style mistakes on defense could keep them from making the post season.
“I don’t understand it, Girardi told The New York Times. “We’ve been playing way too long to have that happen. It’s something that shouldn’t happen. It’s inexcusable. Those guys have played together long enough, they understand what they need to do. Sometimes it’s just trying to do too much, and you can’t. You have to be able to relax and play.”
Well, unfortunately for Girardi, relaxing won’t be an option as he is sure to lose his job if the Yanks fail to make it to the post season. And yes, Yankee fans, believe it or not, there is a little team that plays at Tropicana Field and they are kicking ass in the American League.
I, for one, am so excited to see the Rays make it into the post season. If they make it there, I think the sky is the limit. Hell, maybe even a pennant? Who knows. Right now, they have to battle trough their injury problems and stay atop the Bo Sox. Go Rays…and I say pick up Barry Bonds for the DH position…maybe he can still hit. Anybody know if he is still juicin’?