Assessing Tampa Bay Rays After First Week of 2013 MLB Season
Where Tampa Bay Rays Are After One Week
The Tampa Bay Rays were, like most teams, hoping to get off to a fast start in the AL East, a division that looks as though it will be as competitive as ever this season.
However, despite a six game home stretch to open up the season, it would suffice to say that the Rays have struggled. In fact, a 13-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Sunday night, in a game started by 2012 Cy Young winner David Price was emphatic statement to that tune. That result came on the back of consecutive shutouts, in which the Rays looked on top form.
At this stage of the season, given the small sample size, it is naive to read too much into the performances of either the team or an individual, but having said that, Price's outing was worrying. He recorded two quick outs in three innings, before being belted around the yard.
Matt Moore and Alex Cobb looked good in their starts against Cleveland, whilst both Jeremy Hellickson and Roberto Hernandez have shown both sides to their game in a pair of starts a piece, and Jake McGee has bounced back from his nightmare season debut to look solid as a set up reliever.
The problem however doesn't lie upon the mound. No, it rests upon those with the bat. Evan Longoria may have already notched 10 hits, but his start isn't quite as hot as others think, considering he has yet to go deep, and in fact, the whole team seems to be suffering from a problem with scoring runs.
Find out the five biggest takeaways from the Tampa Bay Rays season here...
The Worst Call of the Season
With a full count, and two out in the ninth, Ben Zobrist faced Joe Nathan on Monday night with the Texas Rangers' closer throwing a ball to walk the Rays' utility man. However, Marty Foster didn't see it that way, calling a strike, thus ending the game.
Foster later admitted to blowing the call, however the Rays could well have gone on to take victory against Texas, and that call will go down as one of the worst of the season.
David Price Must Improve
David Price's Cy Young Award was presented to him during the Rays' home stretch last week, but was swiftly forgotten about after his 5 inning, 8 earned run outing on Sunday, worries will creep in that he can't come close to replicating his numbers of 2012.
Evan Longoria's Numbers Look Better Than Reality
Despite Evan Longoria's .370 average from 27 plate appearances, he is yet to register an extra base hit, and has only driven in two RBIs. In fact, this is the longest Longo has gone into a season without hitting a home run since joining the league in 2008.
Lineup Not Providing Enough Support
Whilst Longoria has recorded 10 base hits so far, only Ben Zobrist can match him, whilst the majority of the lineup barely scrapes by with half of that number. The team ranks 20th overall in runs scored so far this year, whilst a .231 batting average is better only than six teams, including the Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, and Miami Marlins; three teams that the Rays want nothing to do with.
Lineup Changes Could Breed Success
After Luke Scott hit the DL as the season started, it looked as though the Rays would go with Sam Fuld or Brandon Guyer in the outfield, but so far, Joe Maddon has mixed and matched, and whilst it hasn't necessarily appeared as a qualified success, it has led to thirteen different batters grabbing plate appearances, ensuring that all within the squad feel somewhat integrated.