Do the Tampa Bay Rays Have Legitimate Reason for Concern?

By Peter M. Gordon

The Rays hoped for more to begin the year. (Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After the first three games of the season, the Tampa Bay Rays’ record is a disappointing one win and two losses. That is disappointing because several commentators picked the Rays to win the East and perhaps even get to the World Series. Joe Maddon and the Rays’ players also thought they could win it all this year. The first game went so promisingly, with David Price looking great the hitters tatooing Blue Jay pitching for nine runs. Yet the hitters looked terrible the last two games. Should Rays fans be worried?

The short answer is no. The Rays scored 11 runs over the past three games and only allowed 9. It’s a small sample, of course, but according to the Pythagorean formula, the Rays should be 2-1 and this point. The pitching and defense performed exactly as planned: The Rays allowed an average of three runs per game. If they do that for the entire season, I’ll keep my money on the Rays winning the East and ultimately the World Series. There have been plenty of positives to take even in the losses, from the strong pitching of Matt Moore and Heath Bell to the hot starts of Matt Joyce and Desmond Jennings at the plate. Evan Longoria has impressed both at the plate and in the field, and Wil Myers has a trio of RBIs. The Rays’ bats got shut down for a couple of games, but the talent that gives them a chance for a great season has gone nowhere.

The Tampa Bay Rays aren’t a perfect team, of course. This tough start reminds us that their lineup won’t make anyone forget the Big Red Machine or the 1927 Yankees. But it should still be good enough, given the strong pitching and defense, to win a lot of games this year. Hang in there, Rays fans!