Pitching still needs to define this Rays team

by Gary Shelton on May 27, 2016 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Smyly gave up two two-out homers to the Marlins.

Smyly gave up two two-out homers to the Marlins. He's 56th in ERA.

Friday, 5:45 a.m.

The hitting has been better lately, but the Tampa Bay Rays are not exactly known as a hitting club.

The defense has its nights, but the Rays aren't exactly known as a fielding team.

It isn't a baserunning team. It isn't a slick team or a fast team or a closing team.

From the start, his team is about pitching. Period. From the start, this team is supposed to shut down opponents, to make enemy hitters look helpless, to mount up the strikeouts and reduce the hits and give the Rays a chance to win.

So far, no luck.

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Odorizzi is 47th in the league in ERA./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Odorizzi is 47th in the league in ERA./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

The Rays, 45 games into a season, are still waiting for their pitching to come around. Only once in their last 16 games have they had a pitcher go seven innings. Only twice in 21 games have they. Remember when the Rays were talking about having several players who could win the Cy Young. Maybe the Sigh Young. As a team, the Rays are 16th in the big leagues  in ERA, a far too pedestrian figure.

Archer ... 86th in the  big leagues in ERA./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Archer ... 86th in the big leagues in ERA./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

“We came in with a lot of hype about our pitching staff,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “These guys take a lot of pride in what they do. They're going to figure it out and when they do, we're going to get hot. But we need them to pitch better. We need them to get going . They're fully aware of it.

Where does it start? With Archer, the all-star? He's 3-5 with a 5.16 ERA. With Smyly? He's 2-6 with a 3.92 ERA. With Jake Odorizzi? He's 2-2 with a 3.46 ERA. With Matt Moore? He's 1-3 with a 5.47 ERA.

Moore...91st in the majors in ERA.

Moore...91st in the majors in ERA.

Do you see greatness there?

Odorizzi is 47th in the league in ERA.

Smyly is 56th.

Archer is 86th.

Moore is 91st.

Egad.

The result, of course, is a team that is flat-lining. It has lost five of its last six games. It has fallen to 21-24. In 20 of their 45 games, the Rays' starting pitchers have yet to to go more than five innings.

Cash still talks a good game about how the Rays, as a group, can put things together and start a run. But the deeper we get into the season, the more it seems that the Rays oversold their starting pitching. On the year, they're 12-15.

Put it this way: Which pitcher do you think of as the team's stopper? Who is the ace? Who is the guy you can absolutely count on the shut down the other team?

Anyone?

Anyone?

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