Tampa Bay is still fuming about the non-strike called on Michael Young yesterday. It is clear Michael Young swung on Chad Qualls pitch, but the umpire missed it. There is no replay and there really isn’t a written rule about the check swing, it is left up to the umpire, the human element of the game. Yet despite the loss and how angry the fans were about that call, the fans should be even more mad at the offense.
The Rays offense has been an enigma all season long. At times they seem to be powerful, launching homeruns and loading the bases, but at other times can’t seem to remember how to hit (how many no hitters have been thrown against us?). But despite the bi-polar offense, the Rays managed to win the division and where one of the top run scoring clubs out there. Yet, everything has changed since they got into the playoffs.
The Rays are hitting a pathetic .125 as a team. Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria are each 1 for 8. Pena, the “power hitter” of the team has struck out it seems every time and finds himself on the bench because of his struggles. Rocco Baldelli is injured, B.J. Upton doesn’t remember how to swing, and the rest of the team follows his lead.
There is a lot of talk about the lineup decisions and match ups against C.J. Wilson and Cliff Lee and bad calls by the umpires and even firing Derek Shelton, the hitting coach (agreed he should be fired), but these are not the answers. The blame after all the smoke clears goes on the players. These are paid professionals, there job is to hit the ball. So far, they aren’t doing their jobs (any other place they would get fired). Yes, the coaches give them signals, make the calls on base running, etc., but at the end of the day, it is the player standing at home plate with the piece of lumber in his hands that has to perform and so far the Rays have failed (Texas has been outstanding).
So far every hitter on the team has failed to do anything at the plate (Bartlett and Zobrist are the only two that seem to do anything these days). So as the team travels to Texas in hopes to manage to steal a victory from the jaws of defeat, let’s hope they remembered to pack their bats with them this time.