< Troubles ? Yes me too !
At diverging ends of the same kaleidoscope within the world of baseball we have two teams , both seeking to achieve the same goals his season . For the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays , this could prove to be a make or break season for both of these esteemed franchises . Both teams are barely playing .500 ball within the league standings with the Dodgers firmly rooted at the bottom of the NL West with a 17-22 record , forty games into the MLB season . For Joe Maddon and the Rays , this season has simply been one of sheer inconsistency , with the team now having lost their AL Cy Young Award winner from 2012 , David Price (1-4, 5.24 ERA ) for what appears to short but most definitely acute period , where he will be sorely missed from the team’s starting lineup, as he will be placed on the team’s DL . Not the sort of start that the fans had envisaged for the ball club coming into the season.
At the same point last year things were somewhat different for both teams in terms of their standing at the time . Joe Maddon came into the season with what was adjudged to be the best pitching lineup in baseball , with a league leading 3.19 ERA in 2012 , yet this season things are not quite what they should be as it relates to the team’s pitching within the AL . With Price now on the fifteen-day DL , spearheading the lineup of the Rays’ starting pitching , will be Moore (7-0, 2.44) , whose surprising start to the season , has him amongst the top pitchers in the AL as well as within MLB , itself .
If this Tampa Bay Rays’ team is to have any chance of having a successful season , then for all sense and purpose the level of their play will have to be raised from beyond its current . Long considered to be the Rays’ best player and the presumptive leader in the clubhouse . I have always felt that Evan Longoria , undoubtedly a tremendous player , I believe him to be lacking in the skills needed to be viewed as a leader on this roster . A prodigious talent , the Rays drafted the third baseman as their first overall pick in the 2006 MLB Draft . In the subsequent years Longoria has proven to be an invaluable asset to the Rays both on and off the field of play . He is now the highest paid player on the Rays’ roster and amongst the highest paid third baseman in the game. Albeit , that he will have a long way to go in order to match the reputed $29 million that the New York Yankees will have to pay the sidelined , and often controversial Alex Rodriguez , the game’s highest paid player on an annual basis . Clearly a case , where reputation rather than apparent talent is a constant reminder why the game of baseball remains devoid of financial expediency amongst the team owners and general managers .
Although the Rays are 6-4 in their last ten games , a two-game losing streak , is clearly representative of the ongoing problems facing Joe Maddon and his managerial staff , as they close out the first quarter of their arduous 162 game schedule . And the team’s most recent game was a narrow defeat suffered at the hands of their divisional rivals the Boston Red Sox , a team that seems to have rebounded under the presence their recently installed manager John Farrell . Joe Maddon will now take his to Camden Yards to face the Baltimore Orioles in a three game series , with the first of those games taking place on Friday , in what is sure to be a highly competitive match-up. Taking the mound will be Jeremy Hellickson (1-2, 5.25 ERA) of the Rays facing off against Jason Hammel (5-1, 4.93 ERA) .
Already 4 ½ games behind the division leading New York Yankees (25-16) within the AL East , the division is likely to become either a three of four-way dogfight , if the Orioles can play themselves into the mix to join the Red Sox , Yankees and Rays as part of this all-our guerrilla warfare that is likely to take place between this quartet of teams over the course of the season . I think that is pretty safe to say , that in spite of the off-season splash made by the Toronto Blue Jays in acquiring Jose Reyes and R A Dickey , that organization is simply bereft of intelligence , overall talent , but above all , managerial acumen !
How this season goes for the Los Angeles Dodgers and what they are able to achieve , could go a long way in determining whether or not Don Mattingly and his managerial staff are retained at the end of this year . With a splash being made after the franchise was acquired for an astonishing $2.15 billion , it has to stated that with an ownership group that includes Magic Johnson , Hollywood mogul Peter Guber , and billionaire venture capitalists , Todd S Boehly and Mark Walters , expectations are understandably high. . Anything short of the MLB postseason will be seen as a major disappointment for the organization but most notably the fans . For a team with one of the largest payrolls in baseball , success for the Dodgers will be measured by the number of World Series titles that this organization believe that they can amass . And for the Los Angeles Dodgers whose last postseason appearance came in 2009 , in the NLCS , which came with a lopsided 4-1 series’ loss to the Philadelphia Phillies .
Almost forty games into their schedule the Dodgers are a ghastly (17-22) , looking up at the San Diego Chargers (18-22) , Colorado Rockies (21-20) , Arizona Diamondbacks (23-18) and the division leading and defending NL West champions the San Francisco Giants (24-17) . With almost $90 million tied up in players on the team’s DL , it is easy to understand why the Dodgers had their woes this season , just prior to the return of Zack Greinke . A case could be made that the team’s failure are simply because of the unforeseen injuries to a number of mainline starters . Yet with a roster that is literally filled with All Stars at several positions , this should not be the excuses one would expect to hear anyone on the coaching staff , much less from a front office executive or the players themselves .
The Dodgers will be tested this weekend , when they begin a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves at Fulton County Stadium , in Atlanta , Georgia , over the next three days. On the mound in the first of the three scheduled games , will be Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Dodgers against Paul Maholm of the Braves . If there is another case to be made for Don Mattingly and the team’s woes , then it would have to be the anemic lack of run productivity from the team’s alleged potent offense . With a team ERA of .261 , the Dodgers at this point of the season have a lowly 127 runs batted in (RBI’s) , an NL low and ranking them next to last in the league , just above the woefully inept Miami Marlins . Hard to imagine that being adjoined to this team , given the makeup of the roster and the prodigious talent that makes up the offense . Matt Kemp looks a pale shadow of himself compared to last season , whereas, the always consistent Adrian Gonzalez is simply doing what he does best , and that is to hit and create runs . And this season from an offensive standpoint , Gonzalez has proven to be the Dodgers’ best player , by far .
If these are signs of desperate times, then I would have to say that in spite to a solid start to their season , the Texas Rangers remain under a great deal of pressure to succeed . In two of the last four seasons this organization has stepped unto the game’s grandest stage and simply come up short . In 2010 and 2011 , back to back seasons , the Rangers under manager Ron Washington played in the World Series , and the fact that on both occasions , the manager’s teams were simply no match for the San Francisco Giants or the St Louis Cardinals . Both seasons with then team President , Nolan Ryan in charge , a team that w as built under Ryan’s expressed wishes , with the ambition to garner that elusive title . No expense was spared to lavish millions on players who were thought to be in their prime or on the cusp of meeting that goal. GM Jon Daniels , was merely the puppet , as the marionette Nolan Ryan pulled all of the strings needed .
From my own perspective, I believe that the Rangers will be hard pressed to replicate their divisional success of the past few seasons . Last year , for 157 days of the 182 days that the baseball season on view. It was simply a spectacle for those in attendance for many of the games , many of us were privileged to witness the team`s dominance of the AL West . Yet over the last ten days of their season imploded, as they succumbed to the Oakland A`s on the final day of the regular season, and in doing so , lost their divisional title . Last year , for 157 days of the 182 days that the baseball season was simply a spectacle for those in attendance of the games , many of us were privileged to witness the team`s dominance of the AL West . Yet over the last ten days of their season imploded, as they succumbed to the Oakland A`s on the final day of the regular season, and in doing so , lost their divisional title . That meltdown on the final day of the regular season led to the ramifications , as during the off-season, we saw the removal of Nolan Ryan from his position as team President , albeit that he still retains a minority stake in the franchise as an owner . Ryan relinquished his role in all day-to-day personnel decisions, which will now be left in the hands of Jon Daniels and team manager Ron Washington . The Hall of Fame pitcher , will now be with Rangers in merely an advisory and consultancy role , without any real authority whatsoever .
For the Rangers ,in spite of the doubters , because many believed that a number of their off-season moves including the trade of Josh Hamilton , might well have hindered the progress of the team. Instead , the performances of Yu Darvish , has the fans simply forgetting about the players who left during this past off-season . On Friday the Rangers will play host to the Detroit Tigers for a weekend three game set at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington , Texas . With each team, seeking supremacy within their division, this series should make for an interesting insight into the ambitions of both of these highly respected ball clubs.
It would be correct to suggest that last season Washington Nationals` GM Mike Rizzo , erred , when he made the decision to end the season of pitcher Stephen Strasburg far too early than was needed . With the player being placed on a pitch count, the decision was made that Strasburg would pitch no more than one hundred and eighty-five innings for the entire 2012 season . That decision in essence, cut what hopes and aspirations the team ad for the postseason and it simply sent the wrong message to Strasburg`s teammates and to the Nationals` fans . No amount of excuses from manager Davey Jonson or the downright asinine assertion , that the shutting down of the player was for his own well-being and good . Harper`s innings` count would end up at 159.1 innings for the year and the subsequent belief still remains that the loss of Strasburg for the postseason led to the Nationals` downfall.
For Stephen Strasburg and teammate Bryce Harper , as the two stalwarts of the current roster , as the duo along with Gio Gonzalez are seen as the long-term future and their of their championship aspirations. This season both of the aforementioned stars have suffered rather serious injuries during games. And remarkably, neither Davey Johnson or Mike Rizzo have sought to have either Harper or Strasburg removed from the games in question . Kind of idiotic , when you consider how much fuss was being made over Stephen Strasburg and his long-term health. So I guess with hindsight you can teach two old dogs a trick after-all ! And that is ow not to make a complete ass of yourself while trying to safeguard your image and baseball intellect . This season the Nationals have gotten off to something of an inauspicious start , yet they remain within striking distance of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East , as they seek to make a successful defense of their divisional title .
The NL East should prove to be an interesting duel between the Braves and Nationals in terms of their play and ultimately their regular season meetings in 2013 should prove to be pivotal , as both seek to earn a playoff berth this postseason .
Picture gallery for your perusal .
One quarter of the way through the MLB season , what if anything has stood out most for you in terms of the play of the teams and what do you hope to see from the ball clubs in the lead-up to the MLB All Star Game in 2013 ? By all means, simply leave a comment as you see fit .
Picture and slideshow details below .
(1) Atlanta Braves left fielder Justin Upton (8) celebrates with teammates Jordan Schafer (17) and Andrelton Simmons (19) after hitting a grand slam in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday, May 17, 2013 in Atlanta. Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis looks on at right. AP Photo/John Bazemore …
(2) Los Angeles Dodgers’ Nick Punto is forced out at second base by Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla (26) after a Matt Kemp ground ball in the first inning of a baseball game, Friday, May 17, 2013, in Atlanta. The Braves would defeat the Dodgers 8-5 . AP Photo/John Bazemore …
(4) BALTIMORE, MD – MAY 17: Evan Longoria (3) of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with manager Joe Maddon (70) after scoring in the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 17, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images …
(5) Bryce Harper is seen ere alongside Nationals` manager Davey Johnson and a team medical assistant , as he is escorted off the field having suffered a mild concussion . AP Photo /Matt Palmer ….
(6) Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo , left, talks with manager Davey Johnson during batting practice at Nationals Park, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, in Washington. The Nationals host the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3 of the National League baseball division series Wednesday. The best-of-five series is tied 1-1. < AP Photo/Alex Brandon ….
Hot chic pic of the day actress Sharon Leal .