Sandy Alcantara
National League pitcher Sandy Alcantara, of the Miami Marlins, throws a pitch to the American League during the second inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 19, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Rays, Marlins and Braves all Back in Action After the All-Star Break

The four-day MLB All-Star break has finally concluded, and the Tampa Bay Rays, Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves are all back in action.

The 2022 All-Star break was an eventful one. It saw Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto take the Home Run Derby crown over Seattle Mariners’ rookie Julio Rodriguez, the American League edging out the National league 3-2, and New York Yankees superstar Giancarlo Stanton take home the All-Star MVP.

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However, the Rays, Marlins and Braves are itching to continue the push to the MLB playoffs.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays come back from the break taking on the Kansas City Royals in a three game series at Kauffman Stadium in Missouri, with right-handed pitcher Drew Rasmussen getting the nod at the mound.

Tampa has had a very successful season thus far. They find themselves with a record of 51-41 and sit second in the AL East standings, twelve games behind the New York Yankees, who lead the American League. They sit comfortably with a playoff spot, leading the AL Wild Card teams.

The Rays pitching rotation has been solid over the first half of the season. They averaged a 3.37 ERA and allowed only 308 earned runs. Both stats are fourth best in the MLB. Leading the pack is starting pitcher, and recent All-Star, Shane McClanahan. He has a 1.71 ERA and ten wins, both the highest on the team. Relief pitcher Colin Poche has also been a strong contributor. He has a 2.35 ERA and leads the team in saves with six.

When it comes to batting, Tampa is around the middle of the pack in the league. Their .240 batting average sits at seventeenth in the MLB and their .307 on base percentage sits at the 22 spot. However, they have some bright spots on their roster. Third baseman Yandy Diaz leads the team with a .294 batting average and a .407 on base percentage, and left fielder Randy Arozarena leads the team wit 43 RBIs and 86 hits.

The Rays have 70 more games left on the season, and look to further boost themselves up the standings.

Miami Marlins

Heading down to South Florida, we have the Miami Marlins, who are on the outside looking in of the playoff picture. They began their post All-Star break skid Thursday, where they got blown out by the Texas Rangers 8-0 at Loan Depot Park.

That Marlins are six games under .500, with a 43-49 record. They hold the fourth spot in the NL East, but they are three spots out of a wild card spot. Miami is six games behind the Philadelphia Phillies, who are holding on to the last playoff spot.

Their batting has not been the highlight of the team, ranking near the bottom of the league in almost every major batting statistic; but where they really shine is in their pitching. They rank twelfth in the league in ERA at 3.82 and tenth in the league in batting average against at .236.

A lot of this success has to do with starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara, who attended Tuesday’s MLB All-Star game with fellow Marlins teammates Garrett Cooper and Jazz Chisholm Jr. Alcantara leads the Marlins with nine wins, a 1.76 ERA and 123 strikeouts.

It’s going to be an uphill battle for the Marlins, but if they can boost their batting and their pitching rotation keeps up their good work, the NL Wild Card race could come down to the wire. It will be tough, however, as it looks like Chisholm will be out of the lineup until early September.

Atlanta Braves

Keeping the discussion in the NL East, we have the Atlanta Braves. They begin the home stretch of their 2022 campaign against Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angles, with Charlie Morton getting the start for Atlanta.

The Braves are giving the New York Mets a run for their money in the NL East. With a record of 56-38, they trail the division leaders by only 2.5 games. After winning seven of their last ten games, they also sit comfortably as the top team in the NL Wild Card.

Over the first half of the season, Atlanta has shown consistency in both their hitting and pitching, with top stats in both.

With a .248 batting average, the Braves sit at tenth in the league. They are also second in the league in home runs with 147. Their standout batting is led by short stop Dansby Swanson; who leads Atlanta with a .294 batting average, a .353 on base percentage and 106 hits; and third baseman Austin Riley, leading the team with 27 home runs and 61 RBIs. Both players were selected for the All-Star game along with Atlanta’s Ronald Acuña Jr., Travis d’Arnaud, William Contreras and Max Fried.

Max Fried’s team leading 2.64 ERA has helped the Braves secure an average ERA of 3.61, which is the seventh best in the MLB.

MLB Playoffs

A lot has to go right with every one of these teams, but it’s possible that we can see all of the Rays, Marlins and Braves in the MLB playoffs come October.

About Aileyahu Shanes

Journalism student at the University of Florida. Contributor for WRUF and WUFT. You can reach Aileyahu at a.markellshanes@ufl.edu or 786-316-5878.

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