Pitchers and out-fielders , please report for the final moments of the regular season
As the baseball season enters its final slew of some eighteen or so games , the hopes of a number of teams now seem to be falling by the wayside , as they are either failing in making a push for a wildcard berth or divisional title . The stories have been well chronicled as to the Washington Nationals (89-57) shutting down their start pitching ace Stephen Strasburg for the remainder of the season. As to what sense that actually makes among the front office of the organization and that of their fans , I will leave that for you to judge ! To my mind it speaks volumes as to the ineptitude of GM Mike Rizzo and the fact that the ball-club truly lacks ambition and the will to win.
Slide show gallery .
The Nationals currently maintain a 5 game lead over their closest rivals within the division the Atlanta Braves (85-63). The NL East has pretty much been a two-horse race for the greater part of the year , with Davey Johnson’s— team leading for the majority of that time. What has truly impressed me about the Nationals , in light of the decision made , has been the resiliency shown by their pitching staff. And for Gio Gonzalez , who I believe might just be the most credible of the candidates for the NL Cy Young Award this season ! That asides, the awards’ season could be very generous towards the organization with Davey Johnson could also be named the NL Manager of the Year. The NL Central is pretty much sewn up with the Cincinnati Reds (88-59) maintaining an eleven game lead over the second placed St Louis Cardinals , and with the Pittsburgh Pirates seemingly having another late season ; meltdown. I am not sure that they are still postseason worthy team in the NLDS !
I don’t know that with the splash made by the Los Angeles Dodgers in adding over $295 million salary commitments by way of trades engineered by the past month by the front office. As ambitious as we know the new ownership group to be , I believe that it all might to be too little, too late for the Dodgers to now make their own playoff push in gaining an NL wildcard berth ! Unless there just happens to be divine intervention from up on high with the San Francisco Giants (84-63) blowing their eight game lead over their NL West divisional rivals .
In the AL , all three divisions have now become very tight races and there does not appear to be a consensus as to who the outright winners will be . In the waning days of July , one could have subscribed to the fact that the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers would be romping away with the AL East and AL West by sizable margins. As of the 17th September , those two teams are closely looking over their shoulders as both the Oakland A’s and Baltimore Orioles look to erase those divisional leads of ½ game and 3 games , respectively .
Joe Girardi has tried to downplay the considerable pressure that the New York Yankees are presently under , and he is quite within his right to do so. However, I am not so sure that sort of optimism is entirely shared by everyone within the front office ! The Orioles have made a mockery of the standings as they have gainfully competed against both the Tampa Bay Rays and Yankees this season , outsmarting them at almost every turn . Buck Showalter and his coaching staff , has this team playing with a great deal of pride and passion. It is something that has not been lost on the fans who have turned up in droves once again, to watch this team play at Orioles Ballpark/Camden Yards, in Baltimore, Maryland . And the Orioles’ players have not been disappointed, as Nick Markakis , Adam Jones , Matt Wieters , Wei Yin-Chen, Jim Johnson, Pedro Strop and Chris Tillman have led this team to being on the cusp of making their first postseason appearance since 1997 , when they lost (4-2) in the ALCS to the Cleveland Indians . In the subsequent years since, there has been little for the Baltimore Orioles or their fans to feel elated about.
While many of us have wondered whether or not Orioles’ owner Peter Angelos was a hands’ off owner e , as there is the belief that he devotes more time to his DC law firm (Angelos Law LLC) and their lobbying efforts up on Capitol Hill , leaving the day-to-day running of the team in the hands of EVP, Dan Duquette , and Special Assistant EVP, Brady Anderson . Given the play of the team this season , there is no reason to believe why the Orioles cannot pull off a major surprise, should they make the postseason and the way that the schedule has been setup. There does not seem to be that truly dominant team within the AL this year , although the team statistics are very deceptive. The Texas Rangers (87-59), at present have the best record within the AL but as of late, the team has been very inconsistent, with one game win streak , albeit that over their last ten games they are 6-4 .
If there has been one team to my mind that has proven to be a disappointment , then it would have to be the Tampa Bay Rays ! With each passing season their financial situation becomes even more precarious and there doesn’t appear to be a long-term solution on the horizon. Senior managing partner Stuart Sternberg seems unwilling to take on a financial partner with deep pockets , and who would be able to assist GM Andrew Friedman in retaining the talent , rather than jettisoning those players merely for financial frugality . The team is quickly falling out of playoff contention , much of it through their own poor play in recent games.
The Rays’ franchise is valued at $323 million but they are one of the most profitable teams ($26.2 million) in all of baseball because of the frugality shown by the front office . Frugality doesn’t always equate with success but such are the vagaries of the business landscape of the game that in part the financial imbalances within baseball leads to this mockery that there is a level playing field . Nothing, could be further from the truth but that truth has yet to set baseball’s hierarchy or the team owners ……. free !
Today, the Rays are the guests of the Boston Red Sox as they will send to the mound Felix Doubront(10-9, 5.11 ERA ) to face Tampa’s Jeremy Hellickson (8-10, 3.22 ERA) . Game wins and series’ wins are now of the utmost importance to Joe Maddon’s …. team if they are to succeed in their attempt to make their fourth postseason appearance in franchise history , all of which have come in the past four years . With the likelihood of the Rays missing the postseason , I would hate to see the disruption that once again will beset this franchise !
Picture gallery .
As we the regular season now winds down within baseball , what if anything has been the biggest disappointment for by way of a player or team performance during the regular season ? At the same time, which ball-club do you believe will be ultimately triumphant in the World Series ? Which player will be your choice for the World Series’ MVP? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter .
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) Atlanta Braves’ Chipper Jones , right, celebrates with teammate Freddie Freeman after the Braves defeated the Washington Nationals 5-1 in a baseball game Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in Atlanta. AP Photo/David Goldman ….
(2) Washington Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez lays down a sacrifice bunt in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in Atlanta. Gonzalez was out at first. AP Photo/David Goldman ……
(3) Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher John Ely , right, covers his face as catcher A.J. Ellis looks on after Ely walked in a run in the 12th inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …
(4) Tampa Bay Rays Matt Joyce , left, argues with home plate umpire Paul Emmel after striking out in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in New York, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012. Emmel tossed Joyce from the game for arguing balls and strikes. AP Photo/Kathy Willens ….
(5)NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 16: Rafael Soriano (29) of the New York Yankees shakes hands with teammates after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on September 16, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images …. (6) Baltimore Orioles outfielders Xavier Avery (70) , Endy Chavez (27) and Nate McLouth celebrate after defeating the Seattle Mariners in a baseball game Monday, Sept. 17, 2012, in Seattle. Baltimore won 10-4 . AP Photo/Elaine Thompson …..
(7) Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter , right, heads to the mound with catcher Matt Wieters to pull relief pitcher Zach Phillips in the eight inning against the Seattle Mariners in a baseball game Monday, Sept. 17, 2012, in Seattle. AP Photo/Elaine Thompson …
(8) Baltimore Orioles EVP Dan Duquette ,left, is seen here with team manager Buck Showalter , as the duo take questions from the convened press at Orioles Ballpark, in Baltimore , Maryland ,. Courtesy of Baltimore Sun ….
(9) Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos testifies before the House Government Reform Committee about the ongoing dispute involving the Nationals’ and Orioles’ TV exposure on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 7, 2006. Major League Baseball and Orioles owner Peter Angelos control most of the Mid Atlantic Sports Network which owns the broadcast rights to Nationals games, but is not carried by some local cable companies. UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg ….
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