How do Rays hold on as the Wild-Card Leader?

by Gary Shelton on July 12, 2019 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Meadows needs to get hot again for Rays. / CHUCK MULLER

Friday, 4 a.m.

What they have to do to win a wild-card berth:

Win 50 more games. I know, that’s a lot with 40 games to go. And 40 might be enough. But a team (the Reds) once missed the 1998 wild card playoffs with 96 wins. The ’05 Indians, the ’03 Mariners, the ’02 Red Sox. the ’02 Mariners all missed with 93 wins. Before the wild Card, the ’42 Dodgers and the ’09 Cubs missed the playoffs with 104 wins.

Charlie Morton has to stay hot. Morton has 10 wins, and he’s never won more than 15 in a season. But if he can be efficient enough to win 18 or so, it will help.

The Rays need to manage the trade deadline well. They have some veterans who hare highly paid (Morton, Tommy Pham, Avi Garcia), but all of those guys are helping. They should consider trading for a closer for obvious reasons.

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Blake Snell has to be better. You can yammer all you want about his run support, but he’s had six starts (four in June) where he hasn’t lasted past the fourth inning. For a Cy Young winner, that’s unforgiveable.

Austin Meadows has to get hot again. On June 2, he was hitting .357. By July 5, he was hitting .289.

Jose Alvarado has to rediscover the strike zone. No, Alvarado had four saves by April 7. He’s had three since, He didn’t give up a run in his first 10 apprearances. He has a 5.06 ERA now and is watching other pitchers close.

Ditto, Diego Castillo. Castillo had four saves by May 2, He didn’t allow an earned run for his first nine appearances. His ERA is now 3.93.

Tyler Glasnow needs to get healthy. Glasnow was pitching as well as anyone when he was hurt. With him in the lineup, a lot of shortcomings can  be overlooked.

Brandon Lowe has to cut down on his strikeouts. He has 104 so far, a lot for a middle infielder. Sure, he has some pop, but not enough to average more than a strikeout per game.

Ji-Man Choi needs a little more power. He has only nine home runs on the season. He was kept around for more than that.

Chaz Roe has to get more people out. Roe has 39 appearances, more than anyone, but he has a 5.27 ERA.

The Rays have to play the Yankees better. They’re 4-9 so far against New York. They have six games remaining.

The Rays can’t struggle as they did in June when they had a 13-16 record. They won 16 games in April and May.

Willy Adames needs to stop throwing balls into the dirt. Enough said.

The Rays need to win in their division. They have 13 games left against Toronto and 10 each left against Boston and Baltimore.

The Rays need to play better at home. They are only 26-22. Most contenders win more often than that.

The Rays need to win one-run games. They’re 7-10.

More Brendan McKay.

More Yonny Chirinos.

Kevin Kiermaier makes a lot of money. But if the team is serious about the post-season, he stays.

Tommy Pham leads the league in intensity. Still, he needs to run the bases better.

Emilio Pagan can take over the closer’s role any time he wants.

Mike Zunino either needs more offense or more defense. His choice.

Yandy Diaz needs to find his home run stroke again. He’s had one home run since June 9.

Ryan Stanek needs to cut down on the runs allowed. His 25 starts lead the majors, but since June 16, he has a 5.91 ERA.

More men on base, please. The Rays have 112 home runs this year, but 67 of them are solo shots.

More Willy. The Rays gave won 45 games with Adames starting at shortstop.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller July 12, 2019 at 7:36 am

With the record the Rays have should there be any purging of payroll then the franchise may as well pack up and leave now as far as I’m concerned. Unless they want to get rid of Chaz Roe or Mike Zunino then I’m ok with that.

The Rays need to be buyers at the trade deadline and add help for the bullpen. If they can fix the bullpen then they can start a run. I don’t see any chance of them overtaking the Yankees so realistically the wild card is their only hope.

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Gary Shelton July 14, 2019 at 8:38 am

I don’t see obvious bloating in this payroll, Larry. Kiermaier makes a ton, but he’s had a good year. You don’t want to trade Morton. I suppose they get get by without Choi or Garcia, but that would be to make room for Lowe rather than for shedding salary. When you play with kids, the payroll is naturally low anyway. I think they should try to acquire a closer (I know you agree).

The wild card is indeed their best shot, but it’s a good shot. They have a legit chance of hanging on.

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