The Tampa Bay Rays (32-48) were true World Series contenders when the season began but not anymore. The Rays have been in a real funk for the last month as they had dropped ten straight games and lost 14 of 15 games. Tampa has just come off a ten-game homestand and need to continue to pump out victories as they hit the road. The Rays came through this past weekend by taking a four-game series against the Houston Astros () at Tropicana Field. The Rays put together back-to-back wins against the Astros on Saturday and Sunday but then dropped the final series to the Pittsburgh Pirates. David Price may have had his last start at the Trop on Wednesday as he collected the victory. The Rays also dropped the opening series to the Baltimore Orioles to begin the homestand. The Rays will now head to Baltimore to face off against the Orioles (40-36). Rays’ fans are beginning to realize this season has been wasted. Tampa Bay spent more money they had ever spent this season and it did not pan out. It is very disappointing but the Rays will come back strong with Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman at the helm. The Rays will look to trade David Price and get some great young prospects for him this season.
Tampa Bay has to hit July on a tear. The Rays won two games in a row for the first time in almost a month on last Friday night against the Astros. Tampa Bay snapped their ten game losing streaks on the road as well during this stretch. Tampa Bay had not won a series on the road in three weeks since it lasted played in Boston before beating the Astros in Houston two weeks ago. Tampa Bay still has the worst record in the majors. During this rough stretch the Rays were swept by the Toronto Blue Jays (44-35), the Boston Red Sox (35-43) and the Miami Marlins (38-39) to start this sinking ship. Tampa Bay has not played well on the road this season (13-23). Rays then came home and dropped three games in a row to the Seattle Mariners as they went 2-8 on their last homestand but followed it up and went 5-5 on this last homestand.
The Rays have been shut out eleven times this season. The offense is nonexistence and the pitching has been up and down as this is not a way to win ball games. Tampa Bay is now 8-31 when their starter does not get through the sixth inning. The Rays are only averaging three runs a game this last month or so and this is not going to get it done. Maddon has even said we deserve the title as the worst team in the majors right now. The players know there is some real talent on this team and they believe they can make a run. But the fact is this team is playing like Devil Rays as of late and it will be an uphill battle from this point as they move forward. The Rays were simply unable to hit with runners in scoring position. The Rays have also given up three or more runs in 44 innings this year. Bad pitching and horrible hitting is not a good formula for success. The Rays went through a stretch without scoring a run for 31 consecutive innings during their losing streak. The Rays were shut out three straight games this month.
Ben Zobrist has recently been in trade rumors. David Price and Zobrist could help provide another team the boost they need to make a postseason run so all ears will be open in the trade department for Andrew Friedman. Molina simply put is not an everyday catcher. Ryan Hanigan will continue to get most of the starts behind the plate. Wil Myers and Desmond Jennings ran into each other at Fenway Park last month. This collision landed Myers on the DL as he will be out for at least two months with this wrist injury. The already depleted lineup did not need another bat in the middle of the order to get injured. Jerry Sands was called up and gave the Tampa Bay a much needed boost until he was diagnosed with a wrist injury as well on Monday. Sands did break the 0 for 34 with runners in scoring position streak during their awful stretch of games. Sands followed that up by providing two clutch pinch hits on Sunday and Monday as Tampa put together back-to-back victories before dropping two games to Baltimore to begin the ten-game homestand. Kevin Kiermaier was also called up and has looked outstanding in the outfield. He will be a young exciting player for this franchise.
The Rays certainly have been murdered by injuries this season all around the board. Tampa Bay has less than one month to turn this thing around this season before the All Star Break. The Rays had 18 games at Tropicana Field this month and this was a great opportunity to make some ground but the Rays couldn’t come through as they just won seven of those games. The bats are going to have to start producing runs if they want this team wants to succeed in the AL East. It is not early anymore and the Rays must start playing catch up as they have the worst record and are 12.5 games back in the East. If the Rays can go on a tear in July like last year they can creep back into the AL East. This is going to be a grind the rest of the season now and may have to go 58-24 for the rest of the season to have a chance at postseason play. This would put them at 90 wins but sometimes that isn’t even enough. David Price, Ben Zobrist or even Matt Joyce may be shopped before the trade deadline if this downhill trend continues. This could have been David Price’s last start for the Rays on Wednesday. The Rays will have a double header on Friday as Jake Odorizzi and Alex Colome take the mound to battle the Baltimore Orioles.