The Rays begin the dogs days of summer battling to stay above .500 as they have lost 4 out of the last 5 and totally revamped the bullpen as owner Stuart Sternberg thinks that this Rays team can get back on track and secure a playoff berth.
It began July 22 as the Rays acquired Sergio Romo from the LA Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations. In three innings of work since coming to the Rays, Romo has given up 2 runs with a 6.00 ERA. Five days later the Rays picked up Dan Jennings from the White Sox in exchange for minor league 1B Casey Gillespie. Jennings gave up a run in his first appearance with the Rays.
One day later the Rays dealt inconsistent reliever Erasmo Ramirez to the Mariners in exchange for Relief pitcher Steve Cishek. Cishek has yet to allow a run in 2 appearances.
The Rays promptly lost 3 out of the next 4 against the New York Yankees and were blown out tonight in Houston. Although tonight’s game was not lost by the bullpen. Obviously not the start and kind of impact that the fans and Rays management were hoping for from these trades.
The Rays did pick up Lucas Duda from the Mets in exchange for a minor leaguer. Duda hit 2 home runs his first 2 games and will play primarily 1B in the field and DH.
Today the Rays unloaded infielder Tim Beckham to the Orioles in exchange for 18 year old right-handed Tobias Myers. Beckham cost the Rays the game on Saturday in New York as his communication with P Brad Boxberger on a bunt up the third base line was misplayed. Why Beckham was playing third, who knows. But it cost the Rays a very important game.
The first half of the season, the Rays were on fire offensively and were getting some timely starting pitching. The bullpen has been a problem all year, thus the focus on making the pen better through a series of trades. Five games into it, and the bullpen is no better than it was before the trade deadline. On paper yes. On the field no.
Brad Boxberger looks like something may be bothering him,. Boxberger took the loss in two out of the last three games in New York. The Rays will need the him down the stretch and cannot afford to lose him.
The Rays are entering a tough stretch as they have 3 more in Houston before coming home to play Milwaukee, Boston and Cleveland. This series of games could determine the Rays post-season chances and if the losing continues the Rays could become sellers in August.
Give Sternberg some credit here. He went out and added some salary, spent some cash in acquiring Romo and gave the Rays a stronger pen for the stretch run. These guys are better than the pen the Rays had the first part of the season. It just seems the Rays always get these guys that are on the backside of their careers, or they are coming back from an injury, or have lost their mojo and are trying to get it back.
Tonight Alex Cobb had his worst performance of the season as he gave up eight runs in three innings of work. With the upgrade in the bullpen, the starting pitchers must continue to excel and the offense has to continue to get timely hits if the Rays are to get back in position to play baseball in October.