Can the Rays keep their record above .500?

by Gary Shelton on July 17, 2018 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Midterm Grades

Can Cash finish above .500 for the first time?/JEFFREY S. KING

Can Cash finish above .500 for the first time?/JEFFREY S. KING

Five Key Questions

1. Are the Rays really better this year, or do they seem more embraceable because they've exceeded the preseason expectations? There does  seem to be more fight to the team. But this time a year ago, before second-half swoons, the team was four games over .500. It was a more powerful, more prone to strikeouts team, and sluggers are always harder to portray as plucky players. This team does have the beginnings of the youth movement, however.

2. Is there a closer to be found? Last year, the team had Alex Colome, who was pretty good with a lead. But this year, there is more of a committee approach. One thought: Has the team considered entrusting the ninth inning to Ryne Stanek?

3. Is this the middle of the pack? The Rays have 14 teams with a better record than they do. There are 15 teams who have a worse one.

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4. Is there a way out of this division? The Rays are 18 games behind Boston. In the Al Central (if they played the same schedule), they'd be 3 1/2 back. In the West, they'd be 13 1/2 back. In the NL East, they'd be 9 1/2 back. In the NL Central, they'd be 8 1/2 back. In the NL West, they'd be four back.

5. Are the winds of change upon us? It's one thing to project how the Rays might finish. It's another to project how they might finish if they trade several of their regulars. Can Cash break .500 for the first time?

Snell was the Rays' first-half MVP./STEVE MUNCIE

Snell was the Rays' first-half MVP./STEVE MUNCIE

Best Five Players

1. Blake Snell

2. Wilson Ramos

3. Matt Duffy

4. Adeiny Hechavarria

5. Kevin Kiermaier

Ramos could be on the trade block./CARMEN MANDATO

Ramos could be on the trade block./CARMEN MANDATO

Most likely to be traded

1. Nathan Eovaldi

2. Wilson Ramos

3. Adeiny Hechavarria

4. Chris Archer

5. Carlos Gomez

Duffy leads the Rays in batting average./CARMEN MANDATO

Duffy leads the Rays in batting average./CARMEN MANDATO

Five Leading Hitters

8. Matt Duffy                  .317

26. Wilson Ramos          .297

51. Mallex Smith           .284

88. C.J. Cron                  .256

152. Carlos Gomez.        .216

-- Minimum at-bats required.

Bauers had the Rays' biggest hit of all./JEFFREY S. KING

Bauers had the Rays' biggest hit of all./JEFFREY S. KING

Best Five Wins

1. 6/24/18.   Jake Bauers hits a walk-off home run in the 12th inning for a 7-6 win over the Yankees. The hit allowed the Rays to sweep the first-place New York team.

2. 4/22/18. Carlos Gomez homers to lift the Rays to an 8-6 victory over Minnesota. Gomez' shot was worth two runs.

3. 5/13/18. Matt Duffy  singled to left off Ryan Tepera for the game's only run in. a 1-0 win over Toronto.

4. 7/9/18.    Daniel Robertson singled to center for a 10-9 win over Detroit

5. 4/20/18.  Denard Span knocks in the winning run against Minnesota in the 10th inning. The winning run scored when Span beat out a grounder to pitcher Zach Dukes, and Johnny Field scored from second.

Andriese has given up three walkoffs./JEFFREY S. KING

Andriese has given up three walkoffs./JEFFREY S. KING

5 Worst Losses

1. 7/6/18. The Mets' Jose Batista, struggling to hit this season, launched a grand slam against the Rays with the score tied off of Chaz Roe.

2.7/15/18. The Twins' Brian Dozier launched another grand slam, this one off Matt Andiese of the Rays with the score tied.

3. 6/1/18 Mitch Haniger homered off Matt Andriese of the Rays, who has given up three walkoffs this season.

4.  6/18/18. The Astros Alex Bregman doubled off Sergio Romo to lead his team to a 4-3 win.

5. 5/2/18. John Hicks beat the Rays  with a bunt single in the 12th inning for a 3-1 victory.

Longoria is playing with San Francisco./CARMEN MANDATO

Longoria is playing with San Francisco./CARMEN MANDATO

6 Ex-Rays

1. Logan Morrison    .191          11 HRs

2. Evan Longoria      .246         10

3. Corey Dickerson  .306.          7

4. Steven Souza Jr.  .195            2

5. Jake Odorizzi          4-6         4.54 ERA

6.  Alex Cobb              2-12.         6.41

Cron leads the Rays in home runs./CARMEN MANDATO

Cron leads the Rays in home runs./CARMEN MANDATO

5 Random Stats

2017                                       2018

47-43            Record              49-47

133              Home Runs        88

27-7          10 or More Hits.    31-7

10-10       One-Run Games.    17-21

21                Disabled List            16

Adames should return to the big leagues soon./CAMREN MANDATO

Adames should return to the big leagues soon./CAMREN MANDATO

5 Minor Leaguers to Anticipate

1. Brendan McKay, P-1B

2. Jesus Sanchez, OF

3. Rolando Hernandez, C

4. Lucius Fox, SS

5. Justin Williams, OF

Kiermaier is finding his rhythm./JEFFREY S. KING

Kiermaier is finding his rhythm./JEFFREY S. KING

Team Offensive Rankings

Batting      8.   (.256)

Home Runs   26. (88)

Runs       22.   (401)

Strikeouts. 9.   (847)

Stolen Bases  6.  (60)

Romo leads the Rays in saves./JEFFREY S. KING

Romo leads the Rays in saves./JEFFREY S. KING

Team Pitching Ratings

1. Earned Run Average           8                      2.71

2. Saves                       8 (tie)             28

3. Batting Average Against.     3                   .227

4.  Shutouts                    6 (tie)     8

5. Quality Starts               5                     54

5 Observations

1. Let me be an agent, and give me one client on the Rays, and I'm going to sign Jake Bauers up.

2. Perhaps Ruth's Chris should sponsor the news Rays' Stadium. That way, it could be the House that Ruth's Built.

3.  I'm still not sold on bullpen days. I'm not sure it grooms future starting pitchers. But Ryne Stanek. as an opener, is the bomb.

4. Mallex Smith made some great plays, and he made some terrible ones. I still think his most memorable play was bringing the dumbbells to Bauers.

5. If not for the usual suspects, a guy who should get some team MVP votes is Daniel Robertson.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller July 18, 2018 at 8:46 am

Kind of hard to see the Rays ending up over .500. We know Ramos is either going to be traded or spend considerable time on the DL. That leaves a big hole behind the plate.

Will the frequent bullpen days eventually wear out the bullpen? How many trades will they actually pull off at the deadline? Whatever trades they make will weaken this year’s team. My guess is they will end up a lot like last year’s team. Fading after the break.

Still we have to give them credit for making things interesting to this point. That’s a low bar but it’s something.

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Gary Shelton July 18, 2018 at 8:50 pm

It is a shame, because I like this team. Wilson does add the pop that it has, and that would be missed. But I don’t think the Rays are a post-season team either way, and if they can, I’d like for the Rays to get something for him besides a compensatory draft pick.

Low bars are the only ones that Tampa Bay gets. You know that.

It’ll be interesting to see the long-term effects of bullpen days. I’d still rather have a real starter and save Stanek for the back of the bullpen. But that’s just me.

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