Rays at the break
Raise your hand if you thought the Rays would be in the Number one wildcard spot, on pace for another 90-plus win season, with 16 players on the IL.
What the Rays have done the first half of the season has been incredible with all of the key players on the IL.
Wander Franco, Manuel Margot, and Kevin Keirmaier, three players in the starting lineup on opening day, are out until at least mid-August. Keirmaier may not return this season.
Harold Ramirez, the best Rays offensive player the last month, was hit by a pitch, broke a bone in his thumb, and will be out four to five weeks.
The Rays enter the break 51-41 and have a one-and-a-half-game lead on Seattle for the first wild card spot.
The Rays have used many players in the first half of the season with mixed results. Josh Lowe, who opened the season on the big league roster, was overwhelmed with MLB pitching and was sent back to Durham.
After finding his swing at Durham, he was recalled to Tampa and had been hitting better during this tour of duty. Lowe is hitting .199 with two homers and 13 runs batted in on the season.
Taylor Walls and Vidal Brujan both struggled offensively but were here for their ability to play multiple positions and t
The Rays will try to keep on winning the Rays way through great pitching and timely hitting.
The best pitcher in the first half has been the USF product, Shane McClanahan. McClanahan has had one of the best first halves of pitching in Ray’s history.
McClanahan is 10-3 with a 1.71 ERA. He has 147 strikeouts and has allowed just 19 walks in 110 innings. McClanahan was selected to start in the All-Star game Tuesday night and will look to help the Rays hang on to that number one wildcard spot in the second half of the season.
Isaac Paredes and Harold Ramirez have been Ray’s best hitters in the first half of the season.
Paredes, acquired from the Tigers in the Austin Meadows trade, leads the Rays with 13 first-half home runs. While hitting .226. he has cooled off considerably the last couple of weeks but was the hottest hitter for the Rays in the first half of June.
Ramirez has been the most consistent Rays hitter hitting .329 with four homers and driving in 35 runs. Ramirez has been one of the unsung heroes of the offense all season, no matter where he batted in the lineup.
So what can we expect from the Rays in the second half of the season? More of the same. The Rays don’t need to score many runs, as they have the best bullpen in baseball and can hold down the opposition once they get a lead.
Keep grinding and take it one game at a time. That should be the slogan for the Rays in the second half of the season.
Once this Rays team gets healthy, no one will want to face them in a short playoff series.
Ramirez, Franco, and Margot should all be back in early September. The only question mark is Kevin Keirmaier.
Tyler Glasnow may not be 100 percent but should be ready to contribute some time in late September. Closer Pete Fairbanks will be back this weekend.
In August, JP Feyereisen, Yonny Chirinos, Nick Anderson, Josh Fleming, and JT Chargois are all expected to be back, providing no setbacks.
Mike Zunino, along with Manuel Margot and Wander Franco, should be back in late August.
The future looks brighter, which bodes well for another deep playoff run in October.