As the calendar turns to September, it’s time to separate the contenders from the pretenders.
The New York Yankees are reeling. However, the Tampa Bay Rays are 15 games above 15 and are playing some of their best baseball this season.
That is the backdrop for this weekend’s series at Tropicana field, as the Rays will host the first-place New York Yankees.
The Yankees had an incredible first half going 64-28 and quickly assumed the title of the best team in baseball. However, the Yankees have been a different team since the all-star break.
The Yankees are 15-24 since the break and have seen their lead in the American League East dwindle to six games over the Rays.
If the Yankees somehow lose the division lead to the Rays, it would go down as one of the biggest choke jobs in any sport.
The Rays have 33 games left in the season. To make up six games and overtake the Yankees would take a
The Rays and Yankees will play each other six times over the next 33 days, and those games will go a long way to determining who wins the division.
The Rays are playing their best baseball this season, winning 18 of their last 26.
On July 10th, the Rays trailed the Yankees by 15-1/2 games. As we start the month of September, that gap has been closed to six,
It’s no coincidence that the Rays have played better since Harold Ramirez and Manuel Margot returned. The Rays have also got some pitching reinforcements in the form of Pete Fairbanks and J.T. Chargois in the last couple of weeks.
However, it seems to be one step forward and two steps back for the Rays as Shame McClanahan and Brandon Lowe were both placed on the 15-day IR.
McClanahan is out with what they are calling shoulder impingement. Shoulder impingement is when the rotator cuff is pinching and irritated due to swelling and inflammation.
The Rays do not believe it is severe and hope that McClanahan misses just one start. McClanahan talked about the injury after missing his scheduled start. “We’re actually pretty optimistic about it. We don’t think it’s anything major, hopefully. And I think we’re going to be all right. We’ve got to get some more clarity on it, but as of right now, I think cautiously optimistic is the right word for it.”
Lowe is back on the DL after getting hit by a pitch against the Red Sox. Kevin Cash said Lowe is having issues with the triceps and a nerve. Lowe missed two months earlier in the season as he dealt with a back issue.
The Yankees lead the season series with the Rays 8-5 with six games to play—three at the Trop and three in New York.
Tropicana Field should be rocking all weekend. This is the most important series of the year and could go a long way to determine the division title.
The Rays are playing their best baseball of the season. The Yankees are stumbling and bumbling their way to the finish line.
I like the Ray’s chances. They are putting it all together at the right time, regardless of their injuries.
It will be a fun month of baseball. In 33 days, when the season winds down, let’s hope the Rays have done enough to win their third straight division title.