Tenacious Tampa Bay
When you watch your lead of 5.5 games shrink to 1 right before your eyes, when you’re getting one hit into the 7th by an elite pitcher such as Josh Beckett, when you’re nine outs away from falling out of first place, which you’ve held the entire season, you should be worried. Shouldn’t you?
But somebody forgot to tell that to this team. Somebody forgot to tell this unruly group from Tampa Bay that they're not supposed to be here. They're not supposed to be doing this. They're not supposed to keep on finding ways to create slip-ups for the Red Sox, every time the champs seem poised to rocket past them into first place. Everybody in America seems to know that - except the Rays.
This seems to be another Cinderella story, such as the Red Sox in 2004. For the Rays though, it will be far more extravagant. They improved their record from last year’s team; they finished in last place with a record of 66 - 96, to this year’s first place American League East leading team with a record of 90 ' 61 for this season. With only 11 games left in the regular season, These Ray’s seem to be heading for their first playoff appearance in the 10 years their franchise has existed. Walk-off hits and masterful pitching performances have carried this team far longer than anyone could have imagined. It seems as though having the first round draft pick for 6 of the last 10 years does in fact help a team. Star prospects such as B.J. Upton, Scott Kazmir, Carl Crawford and most recently Evan Longoria, who last night became only the second Ray to hit three home-runs in a single game, have made an impact so big on this team, lifting the moral of these Tampa Bay Rays. Off-season acquisitions such as Cliff Floyd and Dan Johnson have provided powerful reserves to those everyday starters, one reason why their team batting average has increased from .261 in 2007 to .268 in 2008. Their team ERA, or earned run average, has gone from an embarrassing 5.53 in 2007 to a...