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Tampa Bay Rays: What have we learned so far?

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Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer walks off the field after the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in Baltimore, Friday, April 8, 2016. Baltimore scored four runs in the fifth and won 6-1. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer walks off the field after the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in Baltimore, Friday, April 8, 2016. Baltimore scored four runs in the fifth and won 6-1. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) /
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The 3-4 Tampa Bay Rays have gotten off to a very unusual start to their 2016 campaign.

First, let me clarify something. It’s a very long season. In fact, the Tampa Bay Rays have 155 more games to play, which is pretty nuts to think about.

Therefore, don’t let this article make you think that what has transpired already this season will be permanent.

Let’s cut to the chase.

Starting Pitching. The heck is going on?

The starting pitching has been bad. Real bad.

They have a combined ERA of 5.20, 13th worst in the American League. They have just one quality start. And finally, they have zero wins. Yes, no one on in the rotation has a win so far. However, I should add Matt Moore pitched great yesterday (7 IP’s, 1ER, 5H, 5K’s).

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Chris Archer hasn’t won since last August and isn’t throwing the ball particularly well. He’s currently 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA, and has allowed 15 hits (including four homers) and five walks in 10 innings.

That said, he’s just 2 starts in, and has faced 2 of the most potent offensive lineups in the AL. If he pitches another dud in his next outing, then there will be some cause for concern.

Overall, I wouldn’t be too worried about the rotation. Actually, I wouldn’t be worried at all. It’s just odd that one of the AL’s best rotations has started the season so poorly, that’s all. 

Moving on…

Longoria, Souza, Dickerson may have to carry offense

As a whole, the offense has been counterproductive. With just 4 regulars hitting over .250, they are going to struggle winning ballgames if the pitching isn’t competent.

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Desmond Jennings has been solid, but you can’t rely on him to drive in 70 rbi’s. If he and Forsythe can be consistent table-setters for the rest of the lineup, that will go a long way.

With that, Longoria, Dickerson, and Souza have been awesome throughout the first 7 games, combining for 13 rbi’s and 8 home runs. If their bats can stay consistent throughout the year and the rest of the lineup provides even adequate production (looking at you Brad Miller and Logan Morrison), they will be just fine. But for now, it is a question mark.

The bullpen has been excellent

A question mark coming into the season, the Tampa Bay Rays bullpen has been one of the best in the entire league. They have yet to account for a loss, and own the AL’s 3rd best ERA (1.31) having allowed just 3 ER’s in 20.2 IP’s.

They have been a key factor in every win so far keeping opposing offenses at will. One can only hope they continue to be an asset for Cash to utilize, but an asset to utilize less often with the starters returning to form.

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That’s about it for this one. If the starting pitching can return to form, I’d strongly bet the Rays are back at the .500 mark by the end of the week.

Thanks for reading. Have a great week. Go Tamp Bay Rays.

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