Monday, February 2, 2009

Can the Tampa Bay Rays Repeat as AL Champs?

As if playing in the AL East and being outspent on payroll nearly 3-1 isn't enough, recent history isn't on the side of the defending AL Champions.

The last three teams to lose the World Series, failed to make the playoffs the next year. The Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers, and Houston Astros couldn't regain their form to play baseball in October after losing the World Series the previous year.

However the Rays have youth on their side. BJ Upton, Evan Longoria, Scott Kazmir and David Price should have their best years ahead of them. For the most part, the Rockies, Tigers, and Astros were veteran teams.

If Upton cuts down on his strike out totals, heals his shoulder, stops battling with the coaching staff and if Kazmir finds a way to complete 6 innings in under 100 pitches then the Rays will be there in October.

My biggest concern with the Rays is their bullpen. Do they have the arms in the 7th, 8th and 9th to stop the big power hitters in the Boston and NY line-ups?

I think three of the top 4 teams in the AL are in the Eastern Division. Two of them should reach October. My prediction... Tampa repeats as AL East Champions. I think the Red Sox will finish 2nd and will be the wild card team. The Yanks will finish third.

Having fans like her doesn't hurt the Rays either.

2 comments:

Dave - Fielder's Choice said...

Yes.

Wax Heaven said...

They won't touch the Yankees this season, sad as that may be.