MLB Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays: 2014 First-Half Report Card

Tampa Bay Rays: First-Half Report Card 2014

Tampa Bay Rays
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The Rays had a disappointing first half of the season, but the team is currently battling its way back towards .500. No team has really run away with the AL East, leaving the door open for Tampa to string some wins together and make a run at the top. Trade rumors about David Price and Ben Zobrist are distractions, however, so it'll be hard for the Rays to overcome their bad start. Here is Tampa's 2014 first half report card.

Offense: B+

Ben Zobrist Tampa Bay Rays
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Offense: B+

Ben Zobrist Tampa Bay Rays
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The Rays rank 13th in the majors with a .254 team average and eighth in the league with a .326 on-base percentage. Tampa is led by Ben Zobrist's .353 OBP and James Loney's .285 average, but the team really needs Evan Longoria to catch fire in the second half in order to make a run at the playoffs. Longoria hasn't been bad by any stretch of the imagination, but he's capable of performing much better.

Defense: A

Evan Longoria Tampa Bay Rays
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Defense: A

Evan Longoria Tampa Bay Rays
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The Rays have only committed 48 errors so far in 2014, a number good enough for sixth in the majors. Despite Tampa's struggles, it's a good sign to see that the team is taking advantage of their opportunities defensively. Great defensive numbers are the solid foundation of a good baseball team, but the Rays' pitching will have to get better in the second half in order for the team to make the playoffs.

Starting Pitching: B

David Price Tampa Bay Rays
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Starting Pitching: B

David Price Tampa Bay Rays
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David Price has been on a tear as of late, as the Rays' ace currently boasts a 3.06 ERA and 173 strikeouts despite not having a great start to the 2014 season. The disappointment for Tampa has been Alex Cobb, a talented pitcher who has had a disappointing season so far. Cobb has a 4.08 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP, and he will need to improve fast to help Tampa's playoff push. Chris Archer, like Price, has had a solid first half (3.31 ERA, six wins).

Relief Pitching: C-

Jake McGee Tampa Bay Rays
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Relief Pitching: C-

Jake McGee Tampa Bay Rays
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Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger have been solid, but the Rays bullpen has cost them several games in 2014. Former closer Grant Balfour, who had a disastrous first half, currently holds a 5.40 ERA. Joel Peralta hasn't been much better than Balfour, and Juan Carlos Oviedo hasn't been very reliable either. McGee has been solid at the back end of the Tampa bullpen, but those attempting to get him the ball in the ninth have been disappointing.

Managing: B-

Joe Maddon Tampa Bay Rays
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Managing: B-

Joe Maddon Tampa Bay Rays
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It's hard to give manager Joe Maddon a good grade when his team has struggled, but the Rays are 7-3 in the team's last 10 games. Tampa hasn't completely given up on 2014 just yet, making it a possibility that David Price and Ben Zobrist stay on the team for the rest of the season. There's plenty of time for the Rays to make a playoff push, and it seems like Maddon's Rays have started playing well at an opportune time.

Jacob Dennis is a writer at RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook, and add him to your network on Google.