AL East Round Up: What’s Left Edition

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Tamp Bay Rays

The mighty Rays have been out of contention for a while. That isn’t really good considering their fans don’t really pay attention at the best of times. With no hopes of reaching the post season and the team trading away its best player in David Price, what is left for the mildly interested fanbase to get excited about?

Well, they have a bright young rookie that could be a big contributor for them next season and beyond. Nathan Karns came to the Rays in the  Jose Lobaton deal with the Nationals. Friday night he made his debut against the Blue Jays and went 7 shut out innings. He only allowed 2 hits. I know, I know, it is one start. But, the rest of September will allow him a couple more chances to open some eyes. Fans should be watching his starts.

Rays’ manager, Joe Maddon believes that Yunel Escobar needs to have a strong September to go into the off season in a healthy frame of mind. Can he, though? Well, Thursday, he went deep twice in Yankee stadium. That’ll help. Fans should watch to see if Escobar can improve on a fairly pedestrian, yet typical, Yunel Escobar season.

And then, Bill Chastain at tells us that Maddon is stressing to his players the importance of professionalism after being eliminated from the post season race. And, while Maddon is a pro’s pro at the helm, I’m just wondering if that professionalism request will change anything on the field. Will they approach their remaining games in a  different manner than they did in May or June? Maybe that is the message. Play like you are in it. Will the Rays do that? Or, will they play with a “what’s the point” mentality?