As we get closer to the mid point of the season, the Rays are tied for the second wildcard spot with a 37-36 record. Yes thats right. The Tampa Bay Rays would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. It is quite the feat for this team to be above .500 considering all the injuries the team has encountered. Matt Andriese is out till mid August. Brad Boxberger is out a few more weeks. Xavier Cedeno will not be back till August.
The Rays do not have a fifth starter right now as Blake Snell could not hold the fifth spot down compiling a 0-4 mark with a 4.71 ERA before being shipped out to Durham. Thanks to Jacob Faria who has stepped into a starters role due to the injuries and has been outstanding going 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA with 4 walks to go with 22 KO’s. Erasmo Ramirez was failing miserably as a starter going 0-2 with an ERA above 9 his last couple of outings. He cannot get back to the bullpen quick enough. So short-term, Archer, Ordorizzi, Cobb and Faria will make up the starting rotation until a fifth starter is needed. Andriese will fill that spot when he returns.
In the bullpen Chase Whitley has been very good up to this point going 2-1`with a 2.97 ERA. Closer Alex Colome has been lights out with a 1-2 record no 1.95 ERA with 19 saves. Colome should make the all-star team. Tommy Hunter has been decent with a 2.41 ERA.
The rest of the pen has really struggled. The call-ups from Durham have not helped much at all. Austin Pruitt, Justin Marks, Ryan Garton have all proven that they are not ready for the big leagues. I understand the situation the Rays have been in with all the injuries, but if the race is this tight in September the inconsistency of the pen will come back to haunt the Rays.
You would like to see Colome as the closer, Boxberger as the set-up man, and then use Hunter, Ramirez and Whitley to round out the pen. The starters have been pretty consistent all year with Cobb having struggled a bit. Going forward, the Rays will need another starter at some point, and until Andriese gets back will have to fill the spot with call-ups from Durham.
Blake Snell may get another chance. Since being sent to Durham, Snell has gone 4-0 with a 2.84 ERA. Another guy that we are all anxious to see is Brent Honeywell. Honeywell is 6-6 with a 4.91 ERA, but his walk to strikeout ratio is very good 14/74.
The pitching and especially the bullpen will have to pitch much better for the Rays to earn a wild card berth and have a post-season run.
Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Rays.