As crazy as it may sound the Tampa Bay Rays are still very much alive for a wildcard spot in the American League. The Rays are two game behind Cleveland and a half game behind Oakland as they open up a very important three game series in Boston tonite against the Red Sox.
The Month of August is also shaping to be a very important month for the Rays as the they will not not play a team over .500 until August 27th when they play in Houston against the Astros. The Rays have a great opportunity to put themselves in the drivers seat by winning games that they should win against sub .500 competition.
The Rays continue to battle the injuries as Blake Snell had surgery to clean some cartilage in his elbow and is not expected to be back until September. If the Rays can hang on and stay in the race, The return of Snell may just be what the Rays need to get them into a wild card position.
In the meantime, Charlie Morton, Yonny Chirinos, and Brendan McKay will be the three starters that the Rays will use, with Ryan Yarbrough and Jalen Beeks as the long inning guys when the Rays use the opener.
With the trade deadline approaching for the Rays, nothing has really changed except for the fact that they could now use another starter to fill the spot of Snell in the rotation until September.
It doesn’t appear that will be the case as pitching coach Brad Snyder talked after the Toronto series that he likes this staff from the starters to the bullpen and thinks there is a lot of talent there. He would rather have talent over experience. “Despite how green they may be, I’ll take talent over experience” Snyder said. “And these guys are gaining a lot. We have a lot of confidence in these guys, me more than anyone.”
With Wily Adames struggling offensively and Yandy Diaz and Brandon Lowe on the DL, the Rays made a trade with the Blue Jays picking up infielder Eric Sogard. Sogard is another left handed bat that is having one of his better seasons offensively hitting .300 with ten home runs and 30 runs batted in.
Sogard is a good defensive player and can play multiple infield positions including the outfield. Kevin Cash is glad to have him on the team. “He does the little things that can really help you win games.”
Sogard seems to happy about the trade to the Rays. ” I’m excited. “Excited to be with a team in contention to make the playoffs. So I certainly hope I can bring to them what I’ve done here in Toronto. Whatever opportunity comes, I’ll be ready for it.”
As the trade deadline approaches, the Rays will continue to look at adding a piece here and there to the team without breaking the bank. Don’t expect the Rays to make a big splash in the trade market as that is just not way the Rays do business.
The Rays are still looking for bullpen help and a solid right handed bat. Kevin Cash is confident that the front office is working hard to make the best possible deal for the Rays. “I can assure you our guys are doing everything, doing their due diligence, of exploring every avenue to improve. Not just our bullpen, but if there’s somebody out there that can improve our club, they’re going to look to do it.”