Monday, August 14, 2017
Rays in the Middle (Once Again)
The Tampa Bay Rays, this decade, have been one of the sneakiest teams to be inconsequential in the playoffs.
Every year they'll just murk around, swapping between second and third and taking some games from the first place team (and/or the Yankees), and then when it actually comes time for someone to move onto the playoffs, they'll back away, as if their work has been done.
This year is no different. They've spent most of the year chasing the Yankees and pounding them whenever the Red Sox need to take a lead. They're also responsible for keeping the Orioles down for two months when they needed to be taken out of the conversation.
This year the Rays are actually pretty nice, with a solid core of hitters, a hot Lucas Duda, and Chris Archer still throwing smoke. This is still a really nice team, but once again the lack of pitching depth, and a few holes and slumps in major positions, is keeping them from making a serious jump on the race. But they can keep other teams from making the jump as well, which is essentially what they've been doing, getting some wins at third and jumping to second whenever the Yanks-Sox rivalry needs to heat up.
Mallex Smith, acquired from the Braves...by way of Seattle, has been fantastic this year, stealing bases and hitting small stuff. He fits in well with the Kiermaiers of the team.
Hopefully this Rays team won't cause too much damage to the competitors...especially the Yankees..
Coming Tonight: Mr. Minnesota.