After the completion of a 7 game win streak yesterday with a loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, the Rays made up very little ground in the standings, about .5 games. We have gone 15 and 5 in our last 20, for a 75% winning percentage, but the Yankees and the Sox have been playing just as well. Our 7 game streak came to an end yesterday, and subsequently the Yanks won their 7th in a row.
The real travesty of the whole thing is that the top 4 teams in our division (Boston, NY, Rays, Toronto) all have a better record than any other team in both leagues, sans the Dodgers. TWO of these teams, will not make the playoffs. With a +88 run differential though, I still have a good feeling that we will be one of those teams.
Yesterday though, Ricky Romero just had our bats stifled. He pitched 8 strong innings with 8k’s and 0Er. James Shields was decent going 7.1 IP, striking out 8 and only walking 1, but giving up 7 hits and 4 ER. When the team is only managing 4 hits against the opposition though, doesnt really matter how well you pitch.
It seems as though our bullpen is starting to round into form with some roles becoming more clearly defined as we near the All Star Break. Grant Balfour who experienced some real serious early season struggles, pitched at the end of a blowout game yesterday, and it appears that JP Howell will be the closer for the team for the foreseable future.