The Tampa Bay Rays are not quite ready for prime time. Don’t be mistaken,the Rays are a very good team and will probably get the home wild card game in the American League playoffs.
The Rays are on pace to match the win total of 97 by the 2008 Rays in their World Series year against the Phillies.
But the Rays are just 9-12 against teams with winning records. Boston, Houston, Minnesota, and the LA Dodgers. Against the rest of the competition the Rays are 26-10.
This is both good and bad. It is a good thing because to be a good team you have to beat the lower echelon teams. You cannot play to the level of your competition. You will play more teams with a losing record than a winning record. So you need to accumulate some wins.
Playing against the best of the best like the Twins and Yankees is a good measuring stick. You like to see how the Rays are going to match up against the best teams in the league.
Right now there are a couple of concerns. The back end of the bullpen and getting timely hits with runners on base and in scoring position.
The back end of the bullpen is one area of the team the Rays chose to stand pat and they are paying the price.
We have seen Jose Alvarado and Diego Castillo implode far too often this season and together those guys have a 1-8 record with 12 saves and ERA of 3.08
Chaz Roe seems to give up a run every time he steps on the mound. As we get into late July and August, you would hope that the Rays would use the trade deadline to address this glaring need and try to shore up the back end of the pen.
This is an area the Rays have to address if they going to have a long playoff run come October.
Craig Kimbrel is still available and will be signed by a team this week. The 30 year old relief pitcher was looking for a six year contract in the 80 million dollar range.
That is out of the Rays price range. A one year 10 million dollar deal and the Rays may be interested with some incentives thrown in. One thing is certain, the Rays will not get into a bidding war for the services of Craig Kimbrel.
The Rays are also going to need get better and more consistent hitting out of Daniel Robertson, Kevin Keirmier, and Wily Adames although his bat is starting to come around. The clutch hitting has been missing from this team as you can see by the amount of runners the Rays are leaving on base.
The Rays lead the league in runners left on base as they are leaving an average of 7.46 runners on base per game. That is a lot of runs to leave on base. With the Rays being 4-8 in one run games, this is the second area on the team that has to get better.
Austin Meadows, Tommy Pham, and Avisail Garcia are the most consistent hitters on this Rays team and they will need more than just these three to make a deep playoff run.
The Rays have yet to play with a completely healthy lineup. Matt Duffy has yet to play. Tommy Pham, Yandy Diaz, and Avisail Garcia all missed games this past weekend against Minnesota.
A healthy Rays team should help the offense be more consistent.