The Tampa Bay Rays hot start to the season has cooled off in recent games as mental lapses and poor defense has taken over their game.
After the Tampa Bay Rays hot start, they are starting to turn back into the Rays of last season. They have been able to produce runs but the errors and miscues on defense have cost them a ton.
In each of the past two games the Rays have allowed two errors and that’s just the beginning. Yesterday’s game against the Yankees started off great with the Rays taking a 3-0 lead early in the game and then things spiraled out of control quickly. In the fifth inning Blake Snell had the bases loaded and walked Aaron Hicks to allow a run to score and shortly thereafter Snell’s day would be finished.
Then Jumbo Diaz entered the game and he throws a wild pitch to Derek Norris which allowed another run to score. Later in the game, Xavier Cedeno forgot the infield was in, and what should be a routine ground ball to him he threw a bad pass to Rickie Weeks at first which caused Weeks and Brett Gardner to collide and with another run crossing the plate.
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As well, Tim Beckham had an error on a ball coming right at him and messed up on a routine double play at another time in the game. Sloppy base running was also an issue as veterans Norris and Weeks got thrown out trying to make it to second. If it wasn’t for these mistakes it would have continued to be a good game.
While there have been many defensive issues this season, most of the players that have struggled will not be starters for much longer because they are filling in for players on the DL. Mallex Smith collided on a fly ball that was Kiermaier’s but Smith went after it anyways. Once Colby Rasmus is back next week Smith is projected to get sent back to the minors.
Derek Norris has allowed a passed ball and a few wild pitches but once Wilson Ramos returns later in the season Norris will go back to being the backup. For Tim Beckham he continues to make costly mistakes and have errors but he will also become a backup once Matt Duffy returns from injury. So the future for the Rays looks bright once these starters return to the lineup.
Another issue is the youth not being ready for the big stage. We talked about Mallex Smith earlier who is in his rookie season in the majors. Another rookie who is really struggling is relief pitcher Austin Pruitt. So far this season his ERA is at an astonishing 19.29, with some good innings that number will go down but he needs to do something soon.
On the bright side the Rays have a number of starters returning from injury soon which will give them more experienced players who should also produce. If the issues can be cleaned up soon they will remain right in the hunt for the division lead.
Hopefully they can turn it around tonight and get a win against the Yankees before the Rays four game series against Boston.