AL East Round-up: Separating the pack edition

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Aug 26, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Evan Longoria (3) hits an rbi double in the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Rays 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Rays (66-70)

Who expected the Rays to come out of the basement and have even a distant prayer of making the wildcard spot? Put your hands down, liars!

The team went 5-5 in the last 10 days, led by their all-star third baseman Evan Longoria. He had 9 hits, a double, a home run, 6 RBIs, on a .321 batting average. Longoria may have lost a step or two on defence (which is still better than most of us), but he is a force behind the plate and this rejuvenation in the standings. Brandon Guyer in left field has also looked good by hitting .417 with a .500 OBP and 3 RBIs.

Their troubles stem partly from the fact that they are not getting production from some of their other key hitters. While seven of their players are hitting above .270, Ben Zobrist, Wil Myers, and Matt Joyce are all hitting below .160, which is terrible for the Rays considering those three with Longoria are their impact players in the batter’s box.

It also doesn’t help that Drew Smyly, who is pitching well above his pedigree recently, is their top pitcher. Smyly has a win with a 1.29 ERA in 7.0 innings, giving up only 2 hits and 1 run. Opposing batters are only hitting .087 against him. The rest of the pitching staff did about what you would expect from a team second to last in the division.

It may be too late for the Rays to make it to the postseason. Rays fans should be proud of them, especially this week, for not rolling over and dying in the basement of the division. Their play has shown tenacity and drive.