The Rays stance at the deadline
This season, the Rays are buyers. Also, they have kept pace in the AL East as well as the Wild Card. As of this writing, their record is at 54-53. They have a tough schedule in the second half. And at the moment Tampa is playing the best team in the American League, the Houston Astros.
This month ahead will test if they are a contender or a pretender. Furthermore, all three teams they play next are playoff contenders. This club has made plenty of trades to prepare themselves for this stretch, so it’s time for the rubber to hit the road.
In four separate trades, the Rays were able to acquire three bullpen arms and a power bat. This is to aid in the issue of this team, which is the unreliability of the guys in the pen. Other than closer Alex Colome and Tommy Hunter, everyone hasn’t been good.
The players have created a revolving door that will hinder their chances for a championship. But it isn’t like they haven’t helped themselves out by acquiring assets for little or no prospect talent. Tampa was able to net Sergio Romo, Dan Jennings, and Steve Cishek for support. On paper, this will help the staff tremendously through the duration of the season.
Thursday’s extra inning loss
Chris Archer was on the hill in that game, so there was definitely a chance to win. He kept the team in the game with only 3 earned runs and 10 strikeouts. But that’s when it started to crumble in the 8th inning. New teammate Dan Jennings came in and only pitched to two hitters and left runners on first and third. Tampa held the Yanks to one run in that frame. To close the game out, Alex Colome came in. But he was unable to finish the job and gave up the tying run. That led to the eventual walk off courtesy of recently called up Adam Kittredge.
Again, not a bad start on Saturday by Blake Snell. He went 5.1 innings and gave up 3 runs and struck out 4. That isn’t bad for the young southpaw, considering this year it’s been hard to escape the fourth inning. Also, he did give up one home run. It’s not like he didn’t keep his hard hitting offense in the game. After him, new acquisition Sergio Romo came in the game. He let the one inherited runner score as well as one of the righty’s own. Albeit that, there were two scoreless innings out of Cishek and Hunter into the 9th. That led to Boxberger to take the loss, as he hit walked the leadoff man and hit the next one. When the mound visit was over, he left the game with the bases loaded with no outs. And Dan Jennings is thrown in to try and keep the game at a stalemate, which doesn’t happen.
I’m not trying to critique every little negative quirk to the ball club, but this is something to look at. The new guys could just have jitters with their new team. There could be other factors as well. Tough luck could definitely be another. But at the moment, this team needs to take one day at a time. And hopefully, get on track back to the postseason. They have shrewd moves in helping the pen, and should improve in more outings by each pitcher. The key is damage control so the offense can produce enough runs for the W. We will find out in the coming days ahead.