The Tampa Bay Rays are the first team to win 20 games in the majors this season. After beating Seattle for the second straight night, Tampa has also increased it’s road record to an astounding 11-1. Tampa has 17 wins in their last 21 games and now that the season is 1/6th over, on this pace the Rays would finish the season 120-42.
Matt Garza became the AL’s first 5 game winner, pitching 8 strong innings with 5K’s and raised his ERA to 2.09 by allowing 2 earned runs. Garza has now set the Rays record for the shortest period of time to reach 5 victories.
Tampa’s bats have come alive again after being silenced by the Royals over the weekend. The Rays now have collected 19 hits in two games against the Mariners. Every starter had a hit tonight except for Carlos Pena who is mired in a deep slump with his average right at the Mendoza line, .200.
My favorite DH, Pat Burrell had a hit tonight going 1-4 with a single. Burrell can’t seem to get over the .250 average and stay there for any extended period of time. So let’s just take a look at a possible replacement for Pat. Hank Blalock. Blalock is playing at AAA Durham currently and has a right in his contract to ask the Rays to bring him up at any time and the Rays would have to add him to the roster within 48 hours or release Blalock.
What’s Blalock doing in Durham? Oh, only hitting .377. after 77 AB’s and he went 4-5 last night. Burrell has 70 AB’s and is currently at .229. Blalock might decide he’ll just bide his time in Durham or he might decide by the All-Star break he wants to play someplace else and force the Rays to make a decision.
The Rays front office has really made a string of smart decisions over the past few years, but the signing of Burrell was not one of them. He’s costing Tampa 9 million dollars in salary this year so he can hit below .230. I say Blalock is on the roster if he continues his pace in Durham, by June.