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Every season the Rays lose a key piece or two, but are still able to remain in the thick of contention. This year the Rays lost James Shields and B.J. Upton, yet they still figure to be a main contender in the AL East. Evan Longoria and David Price are two of the best players in the American League. The Rays have a rock solid pitching staff and a good enough lineup to make a run. Top prospect Will Myers, acquired in the Shields trade, could be called up at some point this season to provide a spark. The Orioles sudden stability, the Blue Jays off-season moves, the Yankees injury struggles and the Red Sox’s slight decline make this anyone’s division. The Rays are good, but not great, just like every team in this division. First and last could be separated by as few as 8 games and do not be surprised if the Rays end up at the top or the bottom of the division.
There are no newcomers to the top five third basemen list. Although everyone is the same, four out of the five players moved in the standings. Read on to see who the new number one is!
5. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays: Longoria moved all the way to the bottom. Back in early June, Longoria was the best third basemen in baseball, since then he has slowed down a little. Longoria’s average dropped 30 points since early June going from .321 to .291. Longoria’s power numbers are significantly down with only 15 home runs and 68 RBI’s, which isn’t bad. It isn’t a surprise that the Rays are now in second place, it seems like when Longoria is going right so are the Rays. The Rays still have the second best record in baseball, but unfortunately the team with the best record is in the same division. Longoria should remain on the list until the end of the season and maybe he will take back his number one spot.
August Update: Top Five Third Basemen of 2010
Four out of the top five closers come as no surprise. The shocker is number one, he has always been known as a good relief pitcher, but I don’t think anyone expected him to be the top closer of 2010 so far this year.
1. Rafael Soriano, Tampa Bay Rays: Soriano is the best closer of 2010 so far. Soriano is a converted closer. Last year with the Braves was Soriano’s first season as a closer and he did pretty well with 27 saves in 31 opportunities. The Rays were extremely desperate for a closer this season and took a gamble with Soriano. That gamble has certainly paid off. Soriano already has 23 saves this season and only one blown save. On top of that, Soriano’s ERA is 1.65. If Soriano holds his ERA under two by the end of the season, it will be the first time he does that since 2003 when he was a setup man for the Mariners. The Rays never had a dominate closer since they have become a franchise. If the Rays had a closer like Soraino two years ago when they were in the World Series, they might have won those close games. Instead the Rays were forced to use their best relief pitcher at the time, J.P. Howell, who lost both of the close games.
The Rays were in first place for most of the season so far, but have fallen back a little. The Rays still have the second best record in baseball, but they are behind the best team in baseball who is in their division, the Yankees. The Red Sox are also right in the race, only one game back from the Rays. If Soriano keeps up at this pace, he can help the Rays win the close games. Right now Soriano is pitching better than Rivera, who has been injured off and on and Papelbon who is having a little bit of an off year with a 3.71 ERA. The Rays have a good chance of making back to the playoffs this year.
Click here to read the full article – Top Closers of 2010 – By Eric Heyer of Sports Fan Blog Network
This year is the first year in a long time that starting pitchers are dominating more than hitters. ERA’s are so low this year for many pitchers, which made it very hard to pick a top five. A lot of people probably know who number one is going to be, but the other four can be anyone’s guess.
2. David Price, Tampa Bay Rays: At the age of 25, Price is proving to be the Rays ace. Two years ago when Price entered the league at the end of the 2008 season, the Rays were expecting him to be their future ace. Price shined in the ALCS as the Rays closer beating the Red Sox. Last year Price moved into the rotation and had just an all right season going 10-7 with a 4.42 ERA. This year Price is now what the Rays expected two years ago. This year Price is the ace. Price is 11-3 with a 2.44 ERA and 84 strikeouts. Price just needed a little time to develop and is now helping the Rays stay in contention in the tough AL East. The Rays were the best team in baseball for the first two and a half months of the season. They fell back a little bit, giving the lead to the Yankees and also letting the Red sox pass them. I think the Rays just need a rest and they will get that in a few weeks when the all-star break rolls around. The Rays are still very much in the race for first, they are only three games back and have the fourth best record in baseball. Like I said with the Red Sox, the Rays still have a lot of games against the Red Sox and Yankees which will determine who is the best team not just in the division but, probably in all of baseball.
Click here for the full list at: Around the Diamond: Top Five Starting Pitchers of 2010
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Three out of the five third baseman on this list are having comeback years. One of the players career looked like it was over, one of them hasn’t had a good year since he was in the National League, and the last comeback player had a power outage last year.
1. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays: No surprise here, Longoria made it clear the last few years that he is the elite third baseman in all of baseball. Longoria is getting better and better every year. In his third year in the league, Longoria is playing for the team with the best record in baseball. Thanks to Longoria the Rays can compete in the tough American League East and he is looking to bring them back to the World Series to win it this time. Longoria leads his team in hits with 79, doubles with 22, RBI’s with 51, on base percentage with .391, slugging with .573, and average with .321. Longoria continues to get better and better every season. At 24-years-old Longoria may be the best third baseman for a long time to come.
Read who else made the top in Eric Heyer’s post..
Around the Diamond: Top Five Third Baseman of 2010
Just nine days ago, the Tampa Bay Rays were 20 games over .500 and headed for a 118-win season, if only they could keep it up.
If you thought they could, though, you were dreaming.
No team has kept the pace they were on for an entire season. The major-league record for wins in the regular season is 116.
I mention this for a couple of reasons. It illustrates just how well the Rays navigated the first seven weeks, and it also shows this current patch of rough road is not really surprising.
One of the reasons “Moneyball” became popular to the point of cliché in baseball is that it showed that performance really is mathematically predictable. Little more than a week ago – on May 23 – the Rays were 32-12 after beating Houston 10-6. They’ve lost six of eight since then, including a supremely frustrating 3-2 setback Monday night at Toronto.
Click here to read the full article – By JOE HENDERSON of The Tampa Tribune
Matt Garza allowed one run in eight innings for the Tampa Bay Rays in another sparkling performance against the Baltimore Orioles, and Carl Crawford went 4 for 4 with a homer in a 5-1 victory Monday night.
The game drew 9,129 fans, the smallest crowd in the 19-year history of Camden Yards.
Reid Brignac also homered for the Rays in their first road game of the season.
Felix Pie connected for the Orioles, who fell to 1-6 with their fourth straight loss. Baltimore has scored only three runs in its last three games.
Garza (2-0) gave up six hits, struck out five and walked three in beating the Orioles for the second time this season. The right-hander is 8-1 lifetime against Baltimore, including 5-0 with a 3.00 ERA in six career starts at Camden Yards.
Click here to read the full article – By DAVID GINSBURG of Associated Press
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And they looked so good on paper.
Unfortunately for the Rays, a year after winning the American League East and advancing to the World Series, they found out there is quite a difference between looking good on paper and being a championship team.
“It’s pretty disappointing,” James Shields said. “We had some high hopes for this season. To end our season the way we did, it’s not us. We have got to get better. We’ve got to reassess what we did this season and try to get better next year.”
When the Rays left Port Charlotte, Fla., at the end of Spring Training, they looked far more solid than the previous year’s AL championship team. Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, some of the players brought in to improve the club did not produce. The most notable of these being designated hitter Pat Burrell, who banked a two-year, $16 million deal, then fell far short of expectations. In addition, there were regular players such as Dioner Navarro and B.J. Upton, whose performances were less than inspiring.
But no one player can be blamed for a 2009 season in which the team seemed out of sync from the beginning. Foreshadowing a season to come, the Rays finished April with a 9-14 record, then spent the rest of the season trying to make up for their less-than-auspicious beginning.
Click here to read the full article – By Bill Chastain of MLB.com
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The Rays had talked a lot before the season about improving the offense.
They brought in DH Pat Burrell and expected other players to have better seasons.
Although they had their best offensive season in club history, statistically, scoring a franchise-high 783 runs (782 in 2007), the Rays won’t be returning to the playoffs partly because their bats were too inconsistent, or “clumpy,” as manager Joe Maddon said. And Thursday night’s 3-2 loss to the Orioles was a perfect example.
The offense picked up two hits through the first eight innings but had three in a late rally, putting the Rays’ record in one-run games at 20-25.
The Rays have scored seven or more runs in a game 41 times. But they’ve tallied three or fewer in 70.
“It’s just there’s been days where we just really poured it on and other days where we couldn’t get it going, kind of like (Thursday) up until the last inning,” OF Ben Zobrist said. “It’s hard to find the rhyme or reason that makes it what it was. But hopefully that consistency will be there next season.”
Click here to read the full article – By Joe Smith of Tampabay.com
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Rays clinch non-losing season with 81st victory
ST. PETERSBURG — There will not be a postseason in Tampa Bay, but there will not be a losing record, either.
The Tampa Bay Rays did take a step back after their magical run to the World Series in 2008, but they didn’t slide back into their sorry past.
Tuesday’s 3-1 win against the free-falling Baltimore Orioles in front of 10,349, the smallest home crowd of the season, guaranteed that.
It was win No. 81 for the Rays. They need one victory in their final five games to clinch only the second winning season in their 12-year history.
“That’s we want to do,” left fielder Carl Crawford said. “We want to at least finish on a positive note and have a winning record. Two winning years in a row with this organization never happened, so that’s good for us as we continue to move forward as an organization.”
Click here to read the full article – By ROGER MOONEY of Bradenton.com
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