Counting the ways the Rays let the season slip away

by Gary Shelton on September 27, 2016 · 3 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Cash saw a season of promised finish in last place.

Cash saw a season of promised finish in last place.

Wednesday, 5 a.m.

They lost it at the plate, where they struck out more than any team in the American League. It's nice that the Rays hit so many home runs, but does every at-bat have to be swinging from the heels?

They lost it on the mound, where three players combined for 42 losses (14 less than all the Cubs pitchers lost). Seeing as how this team is built around pitching, that's a shame.

They lost in on the other side of the fence, where a staggering 134 of their 213 home runs were solo shots. Doesn't anyone hit singles?

They lost it on the basepaths, where the team hit .248 with runners in scoring position. And when did those hits come, exactly?

They lost it in right field, where Steven Souza Jr. was 12th in

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the majors in strikeouts. Of the 11 in front of him, only one batter has not played in at least more  25 game. Ask yourself: Could the Rays have used more of Souza? Or less”

They lost it in support, where hitters backed Chris Archer with only 2.78 runs a game. Still, 19 losses (so far) is a lot. Archer still shows flashes. He simply doesn't get big outs often enough.

They lost it early, giving up 94 runs in the first inning. By the time the Anthem finishes, there are runners on base.

They lost it late, going 0-80 when trailing after eight innings. They had only three walkoff wins.

They lost it on the bench, where they had one pinch-hit homer all year. That was back in May.

They lost it behind the plate, where a conga line of catchers were never quite enough. Curt Casali hit .169, Hank Conger hit .194, Luke Maile hit .229 and Bobby Wilson hit .240.

They lost it early, when Logan Morrison hit .129 after 29 games and Brad Miller hit .130 after 17. Miller, in particular, redeemed himself as the season went on.

They lost it in one-run games, where they were 13-26. Of course, they lost 66 games by more than a run.

They lost it against Baltimore, where they had 13 losses. I suggest you boo a crab cake.

They lost it in center field, where Kevin Kiermaier was able to play only 101 games because of injuries.

They lost in left field, where Desmond Jennings was cut after a .200 average.

They lost it in the manager's spot in the dugout, where he pitched to Gary Sanchez.

They lost it on payday, where the Rays were five million dollars behind the next-to-last team in the majors. They had 17 players make less than $1 million. Who can match that?

Yeah, they lost it in the stands, where their 1,286,163 was last in the league in attendance.

They lost it in the AL East, where they lost 44 games. And they lost it in the AL Central, where they won only 10 of 31 games.

They lost it by stranding runners. They had 18 of those in one game against Seattle.

They lost it in the boxscore. The Rays were the worst team in the American League with a .244 average.

They lost it repeatedly. They have lost 92 games. So far. Three times, they have lost more than 100 games, but none of those teams were talking about the playoffs when the race began.

They lost despite a fine season by Evan Longoria, and being 13th in the majors in homers, and getting 35 saves from Alex Colome. That means a lot of other players had to be really bad.

They lost it in the summer. They had an 11-game losing streak in June, yet won even fewer games in July.

They lost it playing chase. In games in which they were outhit, the Rays were 13-67.

They lost. A lot.

Next year?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller September 30, 2016 at 2:51 pm

Another issue is Joe Madden had a much better grasp of how to use the bullpen than Kevin Cash does. Under Cash relievers who are doing well get asked to do too much too often and get used up and worn down. Before you know it just about everybody is ineffective. He pulls starters way too early and the bullpen is required to cover too many innings. Colome saved this team from a 100+ loss season and got minimal credit. Another problem is management won’t keep people like Jake MeGee when they start making a little money. 95% of MLB teams would have no problem with $4 mil salaries for a quality player but not the Rays. There is such a small window for a player to excel on this team. The good ones earn salary increases and then get traded because they become “too expensive” to keep. That requires the Rays to keep a fresh supply of new, inexpensive talent cycling through and really what team is able to do that?

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Larry Beller September 29, 2016 at 2:46 pm

More losses. Where does this team go from here? They can’t bring in free agents who are front line players. They can’t rebuild with a solid core of young players coming up from the minors because they don’t have them. I don’t know what their farm system is rated but it can’t be very high. A new hitting coach might help, but very little. An influx of better under the radar relievers would certainly help. That’s been done in the past by Andrew Friedman but can we count on Matt Silverman to get that done? Probably not. So what we can expect is another year of below average free agents, a crop of not so good Triple A players trying to figure out how to play in the big leagues and the usual expectation that nobody will get hurt and everyone with have a career year. The Rays will overate the starting pitching staff, play up the versatility of guys like Nick Franklin who will hit under .250 and play poorly at every position they have him try and give us the usual pitch about hoping to play meaningful games in September. And we will be last in attendance again.

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Gary Shelton September 29, 2016 at 5:32 pm

When this was done the first time, it was done by building up the pitching staff. I think there are too many mediocre relievers. Alas, the first time, there were a lot of players (Price, Longoria) in the minors ready to blossom.

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