Since the Rays have been on their run of success, they have been known for their starting pitching. From Matt Garza and James Shields to David Price and Matt Moore today, the Rays bevy of starters has become almost legendary. Add in their ability to develop starting pitching, and that advantage almost seems insurmountable for the opposition.
As such, perhaps it is fitting that the Rays have tied a team record with their 15th shutout of the year on Saturday night. That record was tied last season, and the thirty shutouts for the Rays in just under two years is the most in baseball since 1989-90 Oakland A’s.
Yet, the way that the two teams were able to come about that mark was quite different. The A’s brought in veteran players such as Dave Stewart and Bob Welch, players whose careers they were able to resurrect much like the Rays have been able to do with relievers. Meanwhile, Tampa has gotten this performance almost exclusively from home grown players, or prospects acquired in trades. While Price is the biggest name of the group, he is hardly the only piece.
Meanwhile, the conveyor belt of pitchers appears to be poised to continue. With the departure of Shields, pitchers such as Moore, Alex Cobb and Chris Archer have stepped up to fill the void. Prospects like Alex Colome and Jake Odorizzi are seemingly on the cusp of being integral parts of the Rays rotation, and players such as Taylor Guerrieri, if he comes back from injury the way he pitched before, and Enny Romero are coming up through the pipeline.
This shutout mark is certainly a nice testament to the Rays ability to find and develop pitching in the draft and via trade. With the type of pitchers that the Rays have been able to develop, that mark of fifteen shutouts may be broken in the near future.