Strike one for the good guys
It is hard to understand the frustration of the Tampa Bay Rays and their problems over the course of this season. Beyond the endearing smile of this athlete lays a cunning and experienced player. Team captain Evan Longoria, has tried his very best to keep this roster of players relevant as their season has progressed . Unfortunately , his health has betrayed his lack of productivity and contributions for the team this season .
Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen (16), of Taiwan, comes into the dugout following the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012, in St. Petersburg, Fla. AP Photo/Brian Blanco ….
Joe Maddon and his managerial staff have tried to keep the players within striking distance of AL East divisional leader the New York Yankees , and that is no mean feat , given the effectiveness of the “ Bronx Bombers “ over the course of their season . So much so, that the season series match-up between the Rays and Yankees has remained close between the two teams, with Maddon’s players now holding a 7-5 game lead. If nothing else , in knowing the duo will meet each other nineteen times over the course of their respective schedules . We can certainly expect see great deal more fireworks as the season unfolds.
ST. PETERSBURG – AUGUST 04: Designated hitter Jeff Keppinger (7) of the Tampa Bay Rays fouls off a pitch against the Baltimore Orioles during the game at Tropicana Field on August 4, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …..
The Tampa Bay Rays can ill-afford any slip-ups at this point of the season but somehow while hosting the Baltimore Orioles they would inexplicably find a way to lose the game . It has been this type of inconsistency that has me wondering whether or not the Rays will simply be good enough to perform at the highest caliber, were they to make the postseason ! The team’s pitching as well as hitting remains an ongoing problem that clearly needs to be addressed quickly by Joe Maddon and his staff.
Sunday, and once again the Tampa Bay Rays will host the fast slumping Orioles, with Miguel Gonzalez (3-2, 4.46 ERA) facing David Price (14-4, 2.64 ERA) . The Rays’ starting pitcher is having an exceptional season . In what many believe will be a close run race for the AL Cy Young Award race , Price just might have a slight edge over his closest rivals , pitchers , Jered Weaver (14-1, 2.29 ERA), Chris Sale (12-3, 2.61 ERA) and Justin Verlander (11-7 , 2.63 ERA). However, I would hazard a guess , that David Price would prefer a World Series title , rather than the hardware of a Cy Young Award. In light Price’s lone appearance in baseball’s postseason finale in 2008 , during which the player and his teammates came up on the wrong side of a lopsided 4-1 series’ loss to the Philadelphia Phillies . . And this season , if the Tampa Bay Rays are to be viewed as a viable contender for the postseason and the AL pennant , then a number players on this team will have to raise the level of their play.
Outfielder Sam Fuld (5) of the Tampa Bay Rays is out at third on a steal attempt as infielder Wilson Betemit (24) of the Baltimore Orioles applies the tag during the game at Tropicana Field on August 4, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Players such as B J Upton , Carlos Pena , Jeremy Hellickson , Ben Zobrist , James Shields , Sean Rodriguez and Desmond Jennings will have to play their part in guiding the Rays to their desired destination point , and that point is a World Series . Granted the franchise’s postseason experiences have not been as desired but at some point, they will ultimately achieve that ultimate goal .
Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria watches a ball hit by Texas Rangers’ Michael Young bounce over the bag and stay fair in the first inning of a baseball game , Friday, April 27, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. Young was safe at first on the hit. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
As an avowed fan of the Atlanta Braves , nothing has given me greater pleasure this season than seeing this team mount a serious challenge — within the NL East ! While much of the praise has gone to the to surprising play of the division leading Washington Nationals . The consensus seemed to be that the Miami Marlins and Phillies would be vying for divisional supremacy . Well, based on the current standings, the likelihood of that now happening are remote , and it would be pretty much safe to say that the Marlins and Phillies are now being torn apart not just physically but also by dissention within their very ranks . And given the off-loading of players by both teams within the past ten days , can we take the opportunity safe to say, they have now given up on the rest of their season !
Atlanta Braves shortstop Paul Janish (4) prepares to tag out Houston Astros’ Jose Altuve (27) on a steal-attempt in the third inning of a baseball game in Atlanta, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012. AP Photo/John Bazemore ….
Much of the talk with regard to the Nationals , would appear to be the insistence of GM Mike Rizzo , is that he will shut-down starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg. It is the general manager’s wish to safeguard franchise’s investment in the player , who in 2009 was the top player taken in the 2009 MLB Draft. Rizzo feel that once Strasburg has reached the threshold of having pitched 160 innings for the season , the player would be rested for the rest of the year , and not be an active participant in the postseason. To my mind, the general manager is sending the wrong message to the long-suffering Nationals’ fans and their long wait for a World Series title ! This season might be the team’s best chance of making it there, just as long as Strasburg remains a part of this active roster . Stephen Strasburg (11-5, 3.12 ERA, 121.1 IP, 154 K’s, at present with the innings pitched , will probably reach that mark in his projected twenty-sixth start of the season . Beyond that I believe, there is not much left that can be said !
Atlanta Braves’ Chipper Jones (10) reacts after scoring on a Dan Uggla two-run base hit in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros in Atlanta, Saturday , Aug. 4, 2012. AP Photo/John Bazemore ….
Braves’ manager, Fredi Gonzalez , a manager , who seems to be at consummate ease when he is in the dugout , has the Braves playing with a great deal of confidence , and much of this comes from the leadership shown by veteran , Chipper Jones . In his final season with the only organization he ever played for professionally , this player has to be viewed as shoo-in for Baseball’s Hall of Fame , in Cooperstown , New York . In being enshrined, it would certainly not only add legitimacy Jones’ career that would see him join a select group Braves’ players, who were not only All Star caliber but who are now enshrined in that famed institution in Cooperstown. Such luminaries as Hank Aaron , George Sisler, Warren Spahn , and Eddie Matthew gives you an idea as to how venerable the Braves’ franchise just happens to be.
The Atlanta Braves are currently 3-00 games behind the Washington Nationals (64-43) but lead the wildcard aspirants for the two berths available for the divisional round of the postseason under the new revised format , an inaugurated system devised by Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy. Fredi Gonzalez’ players were hosts to the lowly Houston Astros at Turner Field, in Atlanta , Georgia , on Saturday evening . The team would suffer a 3-2 loss to the Astros in a game that was wildly erratic . The two teams will meet again today in a game that will be the second game of a three-set series that culminates on Monday, with the final game of that series. However, on Sunday this will be a game in which the Braves are in need of a win, if they are to close the lead that the Nationals currently maintain. On the mound as the opposing pitchers will be Bud Norris (5-8, 5.02 ERA) of the Astros against Kris Medlen (2-1, 2.43 ERA) of the Braves .
Chipper Jones (10) and Manager Fredi Gonzalez (33) of the Atlanta Braves greet before the game against the Miami Marlins at Turner Field on July 30, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images North America / Scott Cunningham …
Inasmuch, as I can view the Washington Nationals as contenders , for the World Series , I cannot see this team in its present guise challenging the might of the Los Angeles Dodgers , San Francisco Giants , Cincinnati Reds in a seven-game playoff format ! This team or should I say organization, does not have the pedigree of a credible contender, and with the idiocy of Mike Rizzo’s stance. Does anyone truly believe that without Stephen Strasburg, the Washington Nationals are still good enough to go deep into the MLB postseason ? In the season series’ match-ups between the Braves and Nationals, these games (Nationals lead the season’s series 8-4) have proven to be very entertaining. The two teams are due to meet again in a three-game series commencing August 21st at Nationals Ballpark , in Washington , DC , in what is expected to be in-front of a sold-out crowd for all three games.
There is still a great deal more to play for over the remainder of the season and a number teams will be positioning themselves during the months of August and September for the regular season schedule closes out on the 3rd October, 2012 . I would hazard a guess, that the teams now seeking to make their presence felt, will do so with a great deal of vigor . Of the teams now vying for their divisions and that of the wildcard berths , which do you believe will be the ones likely to make the postseason ? Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit with regard to the subject matter and anything else you believe to be pertinent to this topic .
Adult entertainer Gianna Michaels and an array of tasteful picture of Ms Michaels below.