Although the Rays scored one more run than they allowed, they finished four games under .500 in month of July. The American League East separated itself out as the Red Sox played a full nine games better than the Rays and finished with a 20-6 record.
More than anything, though, July was the month of roster fluctuation. There were more than a handful of players making their Major League debuts with the Rays including Jose Lobaton, Robinson Chirinos and Dane De La Rosa. Jake McGee came back from his hiatus in the minor leagues with an air of confidence that the Rays did not see from him at the beginning of the year. Most importantly, Desmond Jennings made his season debut in July and has been everything that Rays fans have been missing since Carl Crawford departed.
Best Win: July 28 vs. the A’s
The Rays were down 5-0 after six batters yet both Wade Davis and the offense continued to battle. Davis was perfect after the terrible start. Rays batters erased the deficit and provided a 10-8 win.
Worst Loss: July 10 vs. the Yankees
The Rays lost 1-0 heartbreakers on back to back Sundays in July. The latter loss to the Red Sox was disappointing, but the Rays were very fortunate to stretch that game to 16 innings. Against the Yankees, James Shields and C.C. Sabathia each threw complete games, but the game turned on a couple of throwing errors by B.J. Upton and Shields in the seventh inning.
Most Important Series: The Rays had three very important series right in a row against the Yankees and Red Sox. The lost the first two and split the third which helps explain their bad July.
Top Hitter: Ben Zobrist
The Major League leader in extra base hits had a strong July hitting .337/.450/.598 with five homers and 21 runs batted in.
Top Pitcher: Jeff Niemann
In every other month this year, Niemann didn’t have an ERA below 5.00. He followed that up by going 3-0 in July with a 1.06 ERA. Against the Yankees and Red Sox this month, he went 15.1 innings and only allowed one run.