The Rays need to bounce back from an embarrassing shutout. Instead of focusing on the negatives I looked for a bright spot in the Rays lineup. Jason Bartlett was a cornerstone of the Rays success in 2008. If he can harness his talent again the Rays may not have to burden themselves with what to do with Burrell. Bartlett can be the average leader of the Rays or the league. He always carries a strong message with him. Though the tattoo on his arm may be small it says it all, about his focus and his willingness to follow a winner.
5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday
7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret–it leads only to evil.
9 For evil men will be cut off,
but those who hope in the LORD will
inherit the land.
Opening day 2010 for the Rays was nail biting to say the least. The expectations were there and in the end the win did eventually come. Longo came through with an uplifting homer while Shieldsy gave a quality start including 6Ks. Of course the finale was exciting with Carl Crawford’s walk off hit to win the game, but…….all of these things would not have mattered if it were not for two scoreless innings of pitching maintained by two unsung heroes in the Rays bullpen….Randy Choate and Lance Cormier.
The bullpen role is unquestionably difficult and crucial for winning. Choate and Cormier held the team afloat by allowing no hits, no walks and no runs. The framework of a team is pitching and if the starting rotation will be backed up like it was today, then the Rays may be able to find that old 9=8 feeling in 2010.
Isaiah 41:13 “For I hold you by your
right hand– I, the Lord your
God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.'”
Now that my favorite team is out of the running for the playoffs I must embrace my other MLB teams for the playoff run. My frontrunners are the Dodgers, Red Sox, and Cardinals respectively. Of course I love the Dodgers. They are managers by Joe Torre. I have been a Torre fan for 28 years and I am only 35. The Dodgers have lasted through mannyless games and pitching woes to remain on top this season. They have some great young players including Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp. Also, they are equipped with some new additions such as Orlando Hudson and Ronny Belliard. Kershaw has led the pitching staff to the surprise of many. If they can just keep him going and restart Billingsly and Kuroda they may have a chance. Wolf and Garland are no slouches either. It won’t be easy but maybe the Dodgers can pull it off this year.
Any yankee hater will be rooting for the Red Sox this playoff season. Youk and Bay will lead the way for the Sox. I am only worried about their pitching. Wakefield is sometimey but I love to watch him hurl that spinless ball good or bad. Beckett has struggled as of late too. Once the adrenaline kicks in all the starters will bounce back to their impeccable forms. If the Sox and Dodgers both make it I will not mind seeing either lose but honestly I would love to see Torre get another ring on a team other than the yankees.
The Cardinals are silently becoming a super team because of recent trades. DeRosa and Holliday alone are great additions to Pujols crew. Carpenter, Pineiro, and Wainwright are elite pitchers on the Cards staff. The addition of Smoltz solidifies the awesome staff that also includes the “rookie” Lohse. If it came down to the Cards and the Sox I would have to pull for the Sox.
As for the Rays I know they can some back to compete again next season. They will have more options and much opportunity for next season.
It looks like the Rays have exhausted all their opportunities to appear in the playoffs in 2009. The pitching was just not there this year like it was in 2008. Maybe next year they can get the pitching and defense back to where they should be to compete with the super budgets of the AL East leaders.
I wish Joe Maddon would have pulled Shields after he gave up the hit in the 8th. The team win was more important than allowing Shields to get the win. Shields is a great player but it was obvious he was affected by losing the no hitter. Who wouldn’t be? Every game is a make or break game now and individual numbers do not matter. I understand Maddon’s loyalty to his star but we needed a win and Shields was used up (mentally). The Rays have a tough road to get to the playoffs. The Yankees are still winning and the Red Sox are turning on their dominant form as they always do. We still may be able to turn this thing around with the division series that are left. Shields valiant effort was erased because my favorite manager did not go get him in time.
It is hard to believe just how many players the Pirates have traded this year. I remember thinking how much potential and talent the Pirates had with McLouth, LaRoche, Bay, Sanchez, Nady … I guess the Pirates had to clean the slate to remove any bitter remaining players. La Roche spoke out about several trades and was eventually traded as well. It must be hard to be one of the few remaining Pirates from the team that could have been but was never given time to prosper. If I were a Pirates fan I would be crushed, but as a baseball fan I am disappointed and feel for the Pirates fans. I hope they can rebuild and be successful like my Rays.
The way they were in 2007. Hopefully, greater things are yet to come for the Pirates in the coming years.