As the 2017 baseball season began, there was a bit of excitement in the Rays camp. Although the Rays did not acquire any big name players in the off-season, there was a sense of optimism that the players the Rays had assembled and signed would be able to contribute and help the Rays become respectable.
Again this year the injury bug has hit the Rays pretty hard especially in the bullpen. This has caused players to make the team and get called up from Durham that had no business being on the roster.
Tommy Hunter, Xavier Cedeno and Brad Boxberger are all on the DL. Although Cedeno has struggled so far this season, he was the only lefty in the pen. The Rays have used thirteen pitchers in relief so far this season and the results have been mixed.
Jumbo Diaz off to a good start has struggled lately as his ERA has ballooned to 5.50. Austin Pruitt, who should not have made the team cost the Rays at least three games before being optioned to Durham. Chase Whitley has pitched very well and Erasmo Ramirez has done well. In fact he has done so well, that manager Kevin Cash is going to put him in the rotation to replace the demoted Blake Snell.
Chris Archer lit up again last night in Cleveland has struggled his last couple of times out. He is picking up where he left off last season: inconsistent. He is not pitching like a No. 1 starter. Jake Ordorizzi and Alex Cobb have been much more consistent so far.
Offensively, the Rays continue to struggle as they lead the league in strikeouts with 425. To put that in perspective, opponents of the Rays have struck out 300 times. The Rays win games that they have no business winning like the series win in Boston this past weekend. Then they will loose three out of four to a Kansas City club at home that they should’ve beaten.
The Rays scored twelve runs in one game against the Royals, and then could not even score one the next day against Kansas City. Evan Longoria continues to struggle hitting .245 with 5 HR and 19 RBI’s. He is the face of the Rays offensively. I still think at some point that Longoria will leave the Rays. He will get tired of Stuart Sternberg’s small market mentality.
Kevin Keirmaier has really struggled defensively as he has made three errors on routine plays that is really out of character for him.
So the summer of inconsistency will continue for the Rays. Attendance at Tropicana Field is down and there is nothing on the horizon that is going to change and get the fan base excited short of an extended winning streak.
It will be another ho-hum summer for Rays baseball in Tampa.