You’ve probably heard the saying that hindsight is 20/20 on Monday morning, so just imagine how well I can call ‘em two days later on Wednesday. That’s right, it’s time for Wednesday Morning Quarterback, your weekly sports round-up.
Delaying my post for the day has given me the opportunity to comment on the American victory over Australia in Olympic Men’s Basketball. Many speculated that this would be the game that gave Team USA some trouble, and they were right in that respect. Team USA struggled in the first half, but a clutch three-pointer in the last few seconds of that same half put the US in a winning state of mind. Kobe and Team USA burst out with 14 straight points (nine coming from Bryant) and the rest of the game was in America’s hands.
Argentina (gold medalists from the 2004 games) and either Lithuania or Spain will be the next challenges for the Men’s team on Friday and Sunday, respectively. Let’s hope that the Redeemed Team (as the media is calling them) is able to keep the momentum going. There’s no space for error in these final matches.
The Rays have been having some problems with their star players recently, but this time it doesn’t come from injuries. There have been at least two benchings on recent memory of center fielder B.J. Upton for lack of hustle and he continues to make some very lazy and stupid mistakes. I applaud Joe Maddon, the Rays GM, for benching Upton as punishment for his indolence, but I’m not so sure that it’s having any effect. More similar incidences (although not as blatant, hence, not as punishable) have been taking place that show that Upton might just be getting petulant and not quite caring that his team’s 4.5 game lead is plenty tenuous, especially against the Red Sox. Which brings us to…
AL East remains firmly, but not definitely in the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays. Strong performances against the always tough Angels in two games already have kept the Rays exactly where they want to be. They’re not quite in the clear yet, with series against the White Sox, Red Sox, and Twins remaining this season, but I can’t help but think that they could clinch the AL East for the pennant. We probably won’t be seeing a magic number for the Rays until they hit late September, but I’m excited, especially since the Crawford and Longoria injuries haven’t slowed them down.
Meanwhile, my precious Marlins sit four games back from the first place NY Mets, having dropped close games against the Cardinals and Cubs to put them so far back. The Phils sit only one game back, waiting for the inevitable meltdown of the Mets due to their piss-poor bullpen, especially with Billy Wagner’s potentially season-ending injury. All the Fish have to do to get themselves back up to speed is play well in non-league play in their series against the Giants, Cardinals, Astros, and Diamondbacks. The Giants and Astros should be easy play, but the rest should be much tougher, even though the Marlins traditionally play well against the Diamondbacks, mainly because the Diamondbacks are actually in the pennant race against the Dodgers. The rest of the series are against the Phillies, Mets, and Nationals, which make for some key, very important series over these last 5.5 weeks. If they perform well, I just might get my dream of seeing an all-Florida World Series.