Thursday, August 07, 2008

Who are those guys?

Eric Hinske, one of the offensive catalysts for the Rays this year, is batting .174 over the last ten games
(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

So we're into August of the 2008 season and the Sox are still in second place with the Tampa Bay Rays not looking to slow down any time soon, right?

Well, no. At least, not the way I see it.

(That sound you hear is my whistling when you note that we haven't posted anything here since May!)

Sure, the Rays are still 3 games ahead of the Sox in the standings. And, yes, they've won all but one of the six games they've played in August, indicating the team is on a bit of a tear. They also won twelve of their 25 games in July, including a seven game losing streak that led them into the All Star break.

Add to that, the fact that the team with the best home record in the American League (and second best home record in MLB) now has to play 30 of their 49 remaining games on the road. With a struggling Scott Kazmir and only Akinori Iwamura, Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria hitting around .300 over the last ten games.

And in addition to THAT, Carl Crawford and Jason Bartlett are both out of the lineup (but not yet on the DL) right now. The team is starting to show signs of faltering and it will be interesting to see how they handle it all with this ten-game road trip they have (Seattle, Oakland and Texas) beginning tonight. Incidentally, when they return home after the Texas series, their first opponent will be the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and all Points West. The team that just happens to have the best ROAD record in MLB.

Today's Rays' acquisition of the Oriole's relief pitcher (and former member of the Red Sox bullpen) Chad Bradford should help bolster the Rays' bullpen a bit, but how much will it really help?

There's no denying that the Rays are having a season much worth celebrating. Going from the cellar dwellers of 2007, to leading the league for the majority of 2008 is an amazing feat.

I'm just not ready to count the Red Sox out of this race.