The Tampa Bay Rays are trying to stay alive in the American League East right now, despite a relatively mediocre beginning to their 2013 MLB season. They’re currently in fourth place in the division, which obviously isn’t where they would like to be at all, but they trail the division leaders, the New York Yankees, by just five games.
Of the success that they’ve had early on this year, their starting pitching has been the biggest reason why, even with David Price struggling and now being injured. Matt Moore has been pitching at a historical rate and out of his mind while Alex Cobb has also been more than reliable on the bump. However, the Rays are still waiting for some of their bats to come alive.
Evan Longoria looks like a superstar once again and James Loney is on-pace right now to have the best season of his career. However, the rest of the Rays’ lineup has been inconsistent and most of them have struggled at times. Shortstop Yunel Escocbar, though, may be the Tampa Bay player who has had the hardest time at the start of this year.
Through 42 games played, Escobar has 157 plate appearances, but has just a .211 batting average, only a .277 OBP and a paltry .629 OPS. He has four home runs, which is nice, but has scored just 14 runs and driven in just 17. Escobar simply has had a hard time getting on base and making things happen at the plate.
Escobar, like many of the Rays hitters, should be able to turn it around as the season goes on. He’s never hit below .250 in a season before and never had an OBP below .300, so it’s likely he’s just in a slump at the beginning of the season. Even if that’s so, though, it doesn’t take away how poorly he’s played over the first two months of the season.