How did the season get away from the Rays?

by Gary Shelton on September 27, 2017 · 11 comments

in general

Cash watched his season slilp away./JEFFREY S. KING

Cash watched his season slilp away./JEFFREY S. KING

Tuesday, 5 a.m.

It is over. The season has lost its pulse.

In the end, it was a more than the season of a year ago, but less than what we wanted. It had bright spots (Corey Dickerson's first half, Adeiny Hechavarria's glove, Kevin Kiermaier's return, Alex Colome's closing), but it had flaws. The team would go into the darkest funks against the darnedest pitchers you could imagine. The starting pitching was wobbly for a franchise that counts on it. And the division beat up the Rays.

Looking at the numbers, then, how did this season slip away. And how did the Rays go from overachievers to underachievers?

They lost by the calendar. In only one month (May), did the Rays have a winning record.

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They lost it by being an all-or-nothing team at the plate. Sure, the 220 homers were nice. But can anyone mix in a little small ball?

They lost in the American League East, where they were nine games under .500 (31-40).

They lost without Matt Duffy, who didn't play at all this season.

Bright spot: Kevin Kiermaier is hitting .309 since returning from the disabled list.

They lost by striking out too much, second-most in the history of the American League. The Rays whiffed 1,496 times this year (so far). Last year, they struck out 1,482 times, which means they've struck out 2,978 times (and counting).

They lost because they could not figure out the guy on the mound. Repeatly down the stretch, the Rays would lose to a guy with no discernable resume.

The lost because they gave Tim Beckham away to the Baltimore Orioles to make room for Brad Miller to play more. Miller hit .198.

They lost late. The Rays' biggest run gaps were in the seventh (outscored 76-58), the eighth (outscored 86-62) and the ninth (outscored 53-41). The Rays had one walkoff win after June 10.

They lost because Corey Dickerson fell off a cliff. After June 26, he hit only .221 on the season. Dickerson was still the Rays' leading hitter, finishing 54th in the majors.

They lost it on the mound. Their four top pitchers were 35-36.

They lost because Logan Morrison stepped off a curb. After the All-Star break, he hit .223.

They lost because Chris Archer was 0-5 in September with a 9.82 ERA. Archer was 36th in the majors in ERA.

They lost it at the plate. They hit .244, 12th of 15 AL teams.

They lost because of fielding. Tampa Bay commited 99 errors, ninth in the majors.

They lost because they could not figure out left-handers. The Rays were 18-28 against southpaws.

They lost because Steven Souza Jr. stepped in a hole. Souza had three hits as the Rays were eliminated Tuesday night, but he was hitting .121 in the 20 games before that.

They lost because Lucas Duda was three for his last 31.

Bright spot: Adeniy Hechavarria hasn't made an error since July 30.

They lost when the bats disappeared. In game in which they scored fewer than five runs, the Rays are 25-67.

They lost because Wilson Ramos had trouble with runners. He threw out only three of his last 30 players attempting to steal.

They lost because they could not get runners home. The Rays were 28th in the league with a .229 average with runners in scoring position.

Bright spot: Alex Colome has five more saves than anyone else in baseball.

They lost it in the stands where, once again, they were in last place.

They lost it at the cash register, where Spotrac says they were 27th in the league in spending.

Bright spot (sorta): With five games to go, the Rays have won eight more games than a year ago. Is that enough?

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