Aug 20, 2012

The offense has arrived, just in time

by Aaron Giddens

Pena crushes a ball to right field during the 8th inning of Saturday's game.
Pena crushes a ball to right field
during the 8th inning of Saturday's game.
Courtesy: LA Times
Do you remember earlier this season when I complained about Derek Shelton's job as hitting coach and the anemic office? I said "[t]his team went from an offensive juggernaut in April to an offensive laughing stock here in early June." Well here we are in mid-August and it's back to an offensive juggernaut. Who would have thought that all this team needed was their third basemen back, even if it was just as a DH.

This team has really ramped up it's play here in the second half of the season. This team couldn't buy a win after May 1st and now suddenly their opponents can't buy a win. I love it.

This is what I was talking about Wednesday after the game. Derek Shelton's job is really a mystery to me. The offensive is so bipolar I don't know which side anymore is the "real" Rays. I would love to think it's this side. The side that scores runs like crazy and punish good pitchers like Jared Weaver and cash in when teams make mistakes. When a team does this they can do something special.

It's starting to feel like September 2011 again. This team is on a playoff push but instead of fighting to grab the wild card, they're fighting to grab the division title. But they still have a ways to go. As we wake up this morning the team sits 5 back of the Yankees for first place. But be weary, the team is not alone in the chase for the Yankees. The Orioles are right behind us sitting 6 back of the Yankees. This might be the most exciting finish to the season the AL East has seen in quite a while. Three teams are fighting for the division title at the moment.

Indeed, this season is set up to something special for the American League East, and the Rays are right in the thick of it. With 7 weeks to go, anything can happen.

The important thing the Rays need to do is not let up. Everything on the Rays machine is clicking finally. Rays are almost back at full strength. Just two main cogs left on the DL and both are either ready to return today or getting ready to return. With Scott expected to come off the DL today it will be interesting to see how the Offense performs back at full strength.

This team is finally exciting to watch again and while we're not without problems, for this team to be clicking as it is on the budget we have is just a miracle, nothing more or less.

The Rays are playing the Royals tonight at the Trop, the last time we saw them in KC they swept us. But that was the struggling Rays. Tonight the Royals get to meet the big boys who are on a freakin' tear.

There's still plenty to be played but I like the way this team is working right now, and their true test is in the next few weeks as they play the Yankees and Orioles and Rangers.

I will close this out by saying mark my words right here. If this team wins the World Series title or, heck, even the American League title, I will eat my words about Shelton and never talk bad about him again. There I said it, mark it down.

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