Friday, June 12, 2009

62 down, 100 to go.

With about forty percent of the season in the books the Rays have once again clawed their way back to .500 (31-31). Every time so far this season that they've reached the .500 plateau Rays fans everywhere start drinking the kool-aid and believing that the 2009 Rays have finally arrived, just to find that they (the Rays) have found some way to slip helplessly back to sub-mediocrity.

Well, I for one, am drinking the kool-aid yet again, and this time I think they're more primed for a "never-turning-back" type of run than they have been at any other point this season.

Allow me to elaborate:

1) The return of Pat Burrell (tonight) and Jason Bartlett (prob. Monday). PB & JB are both vital parts of the Rays, which couldn't be made more obvious than by Bartlett's league- leading .373 BA (although I believe he's not eligible to technically be the league leader anymore due to lack of AB's). Burrell hadn't accomplished much prior to his trip to the DL, but if history has shown anything it's that Burrell will follow in the footsteps of Stella and eventually get his groove back. His presence in the lineup will also benefit Pena. Having Bartlett back in the middle of the infield will certainly not hurt things either. With these two in the lineup the Rays are undeniably better.

2) The Washinton Nationals. The Nats are just what the doctor ordered in order to get the Rays over the .500 hump and headed back toward the top of the AL East where, let's face it folks, they belong. The problem with this series is that its a classic trap series. The Rays are starting to play well again, they're at home, and the Nats are bottom-dwellers- its got T-R-A-P written all over it, and as our friends over at Rays Index pointed out the problem with a series like this is that anything less than a sweep is unacceptable. But if the Rays take care of business the .500 mark may finally be a thing of the past, as far as this season is concerned.

3) Carlos Pena. Pena looks to be coming out of one of his down cycles which hopefully means he's climbing back to an up cycle, that is never a bad thing.

4) BJ Upton can't possibly get worse which means that he can only get better.

5) Softer schedule. While the Rays play host to the Nats for 3 Boston will be battling with Philly for 3 (yes, we have to root for the Phils... I know, it sucks), and the Yankees will be scrapping with their cross-town rival, the Metropolitans. If the Rays can pull off the sweep and the Sox and Yanks each drop 2 out of 3 the Rays could be within 2 of New York and 4 of Boston by Monday (i know, no love for Toronto...boohoo).

Well, the only thing left to do is play the games. That's the easy part.

No comments: