By Chad Quates @chadquates on April 20, 2014
Since their first winning season in 2008, the Tampa Bay Rays have been a consistent contender in the competitive AL East division. This season should be no exception as the Rays are built to win, especially with David Price still on the roster. However, a sluggish start and some key injuries may be prompting some unreasonable feelings toward the team. Here are five such early-season overreactions.
Cobb was brilliant in 22 starts last year for the Rays, and had picked up right where he left off this season. However, an unfortunate oblique injury will sideline Cobb until late May or early June. The Rays are certainly going to miss the 26-year-old right-hander in the short term as Cobb was pitching really well, but he should be able to continue his steady improvement going forward despite the injury.
The Rays suffered a huge blow with the news that starter Matt Moore will be undergoing the dreaded Tommy John surgery, a procedure that will force the talented left-hander to miss the remainder of 2014 season and possibly some of 2015 as well. While Moore is an invaluable part of the rotation and will be sorely missed, the Rays do have enough depth and talent to overcome his loss.
The Rays are off to a slow start, currently sitting at 9-10 on the year. They have already endured a number of significant injuries this season, causing their starting rotation to become a legitimate concern. Despite these issues, the Rays still feature a solid lineup and should find a way to remain competitive all year. While they may not qualify for the postseason, the Rays will finish above .500 for the seventh consecutive season.
Myers was the 2013 AL Rookie of the Year, but has experienced a difficult beginning to his 2014 campaign. His batting average is quite low at the moment and the power stroke has been missing, but Myers is simply too talented for this to continue much longer. In fact, the young slugger broke out in a big way recently against the New York Yankees, blasting his first two home runs of the season, which is a good sign for the Rays.
Joyce has enjoyed a hot start and currently leads the Rays with a batting average of .341. Joyce has been a valuable member of the Rays for some time, but is not an everyday player and has never even approached a .300 average for a full season. As the at-bats increase, Joyce's average will likely continue to fall in line with his career norms.
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