This was suppose to be a retooling year for the Rays. Gone is their leader in the front office in Andrew Friedman and on the field in Joe Maddon. The Rays also made a number of moves in the off-season that indicated they were looking towards 2016 and beyond. Yet this team albeit in a very mediocre AL East finds itself just 1 game out of 1st place with a 20-17 recordgoing into action on May 16th. How are they doing it?
The Big 2:
This team is lead by their 2 big young starters in Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi. Both have pitched outstanding this season and most likely both guys will be front of the rotation starters for years to come. When Matt Moore comes back from Tommy John fully healthy (should return mid season) that trio will lead the Rays for the next few years. Archer came over from the Cubs in the Matt Garza trade and Jake Odorizzi was the forgotten man in the big trade with the Royals where the Rays also netted Wil Myers and moved James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City.
Just Enough Offense:
No hitter for the Rays is jumping off the page in terms of their stats. But they are a getting good contributions in a number of different ways from Forsythe, Longoria, Souza, Kiermaier, DeJesus, Loney, Guyer and Beckham. Souza is capable of providing big pop and Longoria is capable of being an MVP candidate when healthy. For the Rays to contend even in a mediocre AL East they will need to continue to get contributions up and down their lineup all year. Continue reading How are the Rays in the Race?
The line drive that forced J.A. Happ out of the game on Tuesday night overshadowed another blown lead by the Rays. A 4-1 lead disappeared over the last three innings as Toronto won game two of the series 6-4. Although the Rays have scored 11 runs over the last two games they have only scored in only two innings.
The Rays squandered a seven-run lead on Monday night but Tuesday’s loss has become the recurring theme of the season, partially due to another blown call by home plate umpire Marty Foster.
After Colby Rasmus homered in the top of the second inning the Rays scored four runs in the bottom of the inning.
However, the inning could have turned out differently for Tampa Bay if Sean Rodriguez had been ruled safe at home on the squeeze bunt by Jose Molina. Marty Foster ruled that Rodriguez had not touched home and called him out, one glance at the replay showed Rodriguez to be obviously safe and Joe Maddon was thrown out for arguing with Foster. Continue reading Bullpen Issues Coming at Worst Time For Rays
After dropping the first two games of the series against the Rangers the lefty Matt Moore toed the slab for Tampa Bay in the coldest day game in Arlington baseball history. Moore was once again effectively wild and the bullpen was able to protect the lead and slam the door to give the Rays a 2-0 victory.
The pitching matchup on get-away-day featured Derek Holland for the Rangers against Moore and the Rays.
Tampa Bay scratched across the first run of the game in the third inning when Ben Zobrist grounded into a force out to score Kelly Johnson.
Although the Rays scored they once again were unable to cash in on a bases loaded situation and the offense has been paltry at best so far. Desmond Jennings doubled for the third time in the series and after Sean Rodriguez did his job by advancing Jennings to third on a ground ball to the right side Evan Longoria drove him in on a sacrifice fly. Continue reading Rays Salvage Finale Win in Arlington