Keep on , keeping on …
The Boston Red Sox seem to be well on their way to sealing the deal and winning the AL East , barring the team’s self-implosion as they close out their regular season schedule . This weekend the Red Sox will be in action as they face divisional rivals the Tampa Bay Rays . This series will be the final chance for Rays’ fans to see David Ortiz in action for the Red Sox as the future Hall of Fame bound player plays his last series of games against the Rays. This season Ortiz has been one of the most effective and productive players on the Red Sox staff. As always, the resilient veteran Dustin Pedroia has stepped up to the plate, but perhaps no other player on the team has personified the Red Sox way of doing things other than Hanley Ramirez . Over the past eighteen days it has been Ramirez who has been the premiere offense stalwart on the roster. He would very well end up being the AL Player of The Month for September , if there is any justice in the game. Boston has been on a tear as they seek to win another divisional title , having already clinched a postseason berth for 2016.
The success of the Boston Red Sox has come about from the performances of several of the younger players on the roster , most notably from Rick Porcello , Xander Bogaerts , Jackie Bradley Jr as well as the seasoned veterans Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz. Red Sox manager John Farrell , his coaching staff and the team’s Head of Operations Dave Dombrowski have essentially assembled a competitive roster, which to be seen as one of the favorites for not only the ALCS (AL Pennant) , but also the World Series . Farrell for his part will be seeking to win his second World Series’ title as the manager of the Red Sox franchise. In doing so , he would join Terry Francona as one of the only managers in Red Sox history to have won two titles with the franchise. In 2013 John Farrell led the Boston Red Sox to their most recent World Series’ victory when they defeated the St Louis Cardinals , taking the series in six games. I fully expect David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox to get by the Tampa Bay Rays in this road series , given the lack of consistency shown by the home team throughout this season , be it on the road or at home !
Chris Archer of the Tampa Bay Rays will be on the mound as the starting pitcher for the home team when he faces off against Drew Pomeranz of the Red Sox. For the Tampa Bay Rays , they are now simply playing for pride after what will turn out to be another disappointing season for the franchise. Excuses will continue to be made for the continued poor play and the lack of real commitment shown by the managerial staff and front office executives .
Hard to fathom how the Los Angeles Angels will continue to tolerate the lack of real success by Mike Scioscia , his staff and in particular by the team over the past six seasons. Having won a World Series title in 2002 , the intermittent years have seen nothing but meager pieces of consolation for the ball-club and their fans. Having assembled a high-profiled team , the Angels continue come up short and the patience of team owner Arte Moreno is now running thin. Mike Trout continues to be the cornerstone of this ball-club and perhaps one of the few reasons to watch the Angels play. The Los Angeles Angels have been a very poor team in just about every aspect of their game and it is reflected in their record (67-86) this season . Mike Trout and his teammates will be in action this weekend in a series against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston , Texas. This is part of a current four-game series between the two AL West divisional adversaries.
With very little to play for other than self esteem, the Los Angeles Angels could very well be on their way to saying goodbye to several members of this current roster as well as the entire managerial staff at the end of this season. High hopes and great expectations and the Los Angeles Angels have failed to meet any of those aspirations and the same could be said of > last season’s NCLS Pennant winner the New York Mets whose season appears to be on the brink of becoming ashes.
With nine games to play before the end of their regular season, the New York Mets find themselves in a three-horse race for two of the final wildcard spots in the NL , which begins the postseason with the wildcard round . Eight games behind the NL East division leaders the Washington Nationals , the Mets simply have to win out to make sure they are one of the two qualifiers for the wildcard round of this postseason . It is imperative for the Mets to start their weekend series with a win when they face the Philadelphia Phillies at home , with Gabriel Ynoa on the mound for the Mets and Jeremy Hellickson of the Phillies as the opposing pitcher. Mets’ manager Terry Collins has a great deal to prove if he and this team are to be seen as worthy favorites within the National League (NL) .
The New York Mets have an important series this weekend which will require an all-out effort from every player on the team. I have no doubt they will prevail over an ailing Philadelphia Phillies’ team which has simply been abysmal throughout much of the season.
There was a time when Joe Mauer was considered one of the best young players in the game , but those years have since past. Still considered something of a figurehead and face of the Minnesota Twins’ , Mauer is now considered a veteran of the ball-club guiding the next generation as manager Paul Molitor tries to take steps to reassert the success once seen under former manager Ron Gardenhire . The Twins’ owners have been seemingly unresponsive to the desires of the fans while resting on their laurels , barely eking out any type of success from a financial standpoint . Paul Molitor and his team face the Seattle Mariners this weekend at home with just about everything on the line for the ball-club this season.
Barely competitive within the AL Central it is easy to understand why the Minnesota Twins have fallen by the wayside so rapidly. There is an underlying feeling the Pohlad family are now disinterested in the franchise and quite possibly willing to sell the ball-club to the highest bidder .
So what will it take to get the Los Angeles Dodgers over the hump and to win their first World Series’ title in almost thirty years ? Having spent mercilessly since 2012 , after this ball-club was purchased for over $2.1 billion . The Dodgers’ organization , their seemingly apathetic fans and the incompetent local media are still at a loss to explain the lack of tangible success on the field . I guess when you can commit to spending over $1.3 billion on players’ salaries during that time-frame , you might not need to explain to anyone how incompetent you still remain ?
On their way to another divisional title the Los Angeles Dodgers are and will remain like a deer caught in headlights when it comes to the postseason as evidenced by their most recent appearances . Having been no further than the NLCS , it remains the stumbling block on their path to glory and with good reason. This ball-club has never been able to find consistency when it was needed the most , during the postseason . The Los Angeles Dodgers will be in action today as part of their current series , where they will be taking on the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles , California . On the mound will be Dodgers’ All Star pitcher Clayton Kershaw as he faces Chad Bettis of the Rockies .
Likely to end up with the worst record in baseball this season the Atlanta Braves will play their very last game at Fulton County Stadium , in Atlanta , Georgia when they face the Detroit Tigers on the 2nd October , the final day of the regular season. In 2017 , the Braves will ring in a new era , having moved to a new stadium , Suntrust Park , with the likelihood of a larger fan-base , though I am very skeptical of the predictions. For the time being the Braves still have to fulfill their obligations for the rest of September. This afternoon the team will be facing the Miami Marlins at Marlins Ballpark in Miami , Florida . Aaron Blair of the Braves will be on the mound as he faces off against Wei-Yin Chen of the Marlins in this Saturday evening contest .
From my own perspective I do not believe Brian Snitker can remain in his current position as the Atlanta Braves’ manager. GM John Coppolella and fellow front office executive , Team President John Scheuerholz made an extreme mistake in Snitker’s promotion from within the coaching staff. It would have been preferable had they made the decision to hire a more high-profiled manager with a proven track record or someone more widely known and closely associated with the organization. Within certain circles the name of former players John Smoltz , Chipper Jones and even Greg Maddux have been brought up as possible candidates to fill the role as the next manager of the ball-club. Clearly, something will have to be done during the off-season as the franchise prepares for the move to their new ballpark.
Picture gallery. Click on an image to view that picture alongside the accompanying narrative .
With the regular season now winding down within baseball what are you hoping to see over the final few games and heading into the postseason ? Which teams do you believe are in with the best chance to succeed the Kansas City Royals as this year’s World Series’ champions ? Also which ball-club do you believe has proven to be the biggest disappointment of the season ?
This week in baseball history
On this day in MLB history