Are the Rays better than we thought?
With a third of the season behind us, the Tampa Bay Rays are 28-26 and 4.5 games behind the Yankees in the toughest division in baseball the AL East. The Rays are also starting to find their mojo winning three out of the last four series and splitting the series with Kansas City at home.
The Rays opened a three game series with Texas on Moinday night with a 10-8 win, where they had to come from behind numerous times to get the win. It seems the Rays are starting to get the clutch hits at the right time that they were not getting earlier in the season.
A couple of surprising stats I ran across. The Rays are third in the AL in hitting with a .253 average that puts them eighth in all of MLB right now. The Rays also lead the majors in Home runs with 74 led by Logan Morrison with 14 and Corey Dickerson with 12. Evan Longoria who had the winning HR in the game Sunday against Minnesota has just seven.
The pitching has also been better than I thought it would be. The Rays have the third best ERA in the AL at 3.71, and have the overall fifth best ERA in all of MLB. With the bullpen situation the way it has been this season, with all the injuries and the shutttle from Durham non-stop, we should be happy the Rays are pitching as well as they have been.
Just this week Tommy Hunter was brought back from the DL. he will help solidify the pen. He had a rough first outing Saturday in Minnesota and then pitched well in the extra inning affair on Sunday. The Rays are still missing Brad Boxberger who may start a rehab assignment this weekend, and Shawn Tolleson who is rehabbing his injury in Texas.
The Rays have had to use some pitchers who have not been ready for the big leagues, but the Rays have had to use them to keep the bullpen fresh and from burn-out which happened to a few pitchers last year. Austin Pruitt and Ryan Garton are two pitchers who come to mind that need a little more work at Durham.
Jumbo Diaz has been hot and cold, he is now on the DL due to being overused. Chase Whitley and Ryne Stanek have both done a good job when giving the opportunity as their ERA’s are both under two.
Offensively Brad Miller, Matt Duffy and Wilson Ramos continue to rehab their injuries. Duffy and Ramos will really help shore up the defense, while Ramos bat will be the Best the Rays have had at the catching position in quite a while. Brad miller will be back soon, followed by Duffy in mid June and then Wilson probably after the all-star break. He may have a few games at DH early July, but I don’t expect we will see him behind the plate until After the all-star break.
If the Rays success continues will it mean more butts in the seasons at Tropicana Field? Highly unlikely. But That is a story for another time.