Poor Defense And No Offense Is Hurting the Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays continue to struggle due to their inability to hit the ball with men on base.

This offense is painful to watch. Sometimes I think it would be more exciting to watch grass grow. And any significant help is still a week away.

If all goes well with his rehab this week, Wander Franco could be back next weekend. Franco, who has been out since May 31st with right leg issues, will be in Port Charlotte today and tomorrow before heading to Durham early next week. So hopefully, he is back with the Rays next weekend.

Mike Zunino, Brandon Lowe, and Kevin Keirmaier are all out for the Rays.

With the 1-0 loss to Baltimore on Friday night, the Rays now trail the Yankees by 13 games in the American League East and most likely will now be competing for one of four wild card spots.

The defense has become a big concern for this team. With the offense struggling, this team needs strong pitching and excellent defensive play to stay in the wildcard race.

The pitching has been good, but the defense not so much.

In the 4-0 loss to the Yankees on Wednesday night, Brett Phillips misplayed a ball in the outfield that stretched a 1-0 Yankees lead to 4-0.

After the game, Phillips said that he should have caught the ball, but there was a miscommunication between him and Manuel Margot.

That was all the runs the Yankees would need for the night as the offense struggled to get timely hits with runners in scoring position. The Rays left 14 runners on base Wednesday night and left 17 runners on base in a 2-0 loss on Tuesday Night.

The overall defense for the Rays has taken a step back this season. The Rays have allowed 43 unearned runs this season which is second in the majors.

In past years, the Rays had been one of the better defensive teams in baseball. Not so this year.

It will be challenging to win a playoff series with this offense. The lack of being unable to get a big hit when you need one is surprising.

The injuries keep piling up as the Rays continue to struggle offensively and defensively. Outfielder Kevin Keirmaier left Wednesday’s game in the third inning with tightness in his calf. There is no timetable for how long Keirmaier will be out.

Starting pitcher Drew Rasmussen was placed on the 15-day DL with a hamstring strain and will miss the next two starts at a minimum. Relief Pitcher Andrew Kittredge will Tommy John Surgery and is done for the season.

The Rays are also without catcher Mike Zunino who is out indefinitely. Rays manager Kevin Cash said that Zunino would be evaluated for a possible disc issue in his neck. Rene Pinto and Francisco Meija are splitting the catching duties in Zunino’s absence.

The Rays are quickly approaching the halfway point of the season. However, they have yet to get on a long streak or a streak where they win 15/ 20 games.

It may not matter. If the defense doesn’t improve and the offense doesn’t start getting some clutch hits, the Rays won’t even win one playoff series, provided they get in.

Shane Baz was sharp in his second outing Friday night in Baltimore, but the offense was non-existent as the Rays lost their fourth straight 1-0.

It’s embarrassing for an MLB team to have a guy hitting .158 as your leadoff hitter. Last night the Rays had five players in the lineup hitting below .200. And you think you can get into the playoffs with that lineup?

I’ve never seen an MLB team field a lineup with so many hitters hitting below .200.

Jeffrey Springs and Corey Kluber will start for the Rays in the final two games in Baltimore this weekend.

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