The Rays are in the playoff hunt
Tampa has surprised many this season with their competitive season. Small market teams have always been at a disadvantage due to the deep pockets of the big market clubs. But, the Rays are an intriguing story this year.
Star right hander Chris Archer has voiced his opinion about the lack of spending. Although, Tampa has shown resiliency to overpower that notion. Career years out of Logan Morrison and Corey Dickerson have aided the offense this season. This team has gone through adversity and droughts, but both sides of the ball are working. Their actions at the trade deadline were proactive, as they acquired bullpen upgrades and a left handed power bat.
In the last week, the Rays are batting .238 according to ESPN. That is not going to cut it in the playoffs. When teams are running out their top pitchers almost every game, hitting below .250 will not win championships. Morrison and Dickerson have came down to earth a little bit in the second half. Evan Longoria is hitting .292 in the last seven games, so that is something to look into. But, Tampa has a tough two games ahead when they take on the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday.
Game 1: Chris Sale vs. Austin Pruitt
In the opening game, the lefty Chris Sale is facing off against Austin Pruitt. In Pruitt’s last outing, he went 6 1/3 innings and only gave up five hits and a walk. Tampa hopes he keeps it rolling tonight in St. Petersburg.
On the other end, AL Cy Young front runner Chris Sale is on the bump on Tuesday night. The southpaw has a 2.70 ERA and is leading the American league in strikeouts at 216. For the left hander, he was knocked around in the crazy game against the Cleveland Indians. In Pruitt’s last appearance against Boston, he was roughed up for eight hits and four runs in 2 1/3 innings.
Game 2: Porcello vs. Odorizzi
Two struggling right handers are on the mound on Wednesday. Rick Porcello has a 4.70 ERA and a 5-14 record. Run support is tough to find when he is on the mound. The righty is trying to get back into his Cy Young form.
On the other end of the spectrum, Jake Odorizzi is on the bump for Tampa. He is sporting a 4.47 ERA and has 82 strikeouts with a 6-4 record. The Rays’ righty was just reinstated off the disabled list.
Boston’s offense is 4th in the American League according to ESPN. Also, the pitching side of things ranks 1st also. They have stepped up in the second half on the pitching side of things. This team is clicking on all cylinders, and looked primed for the postseason.
Tampa needs to take advantage of this matchup, as they still have a chance to catch the division crown. The Rays need to kick up the bats again so they can keep pace in the playoff hunt. The pitching has been reliable, and they will need to be on top of their game as the regular season subsides.