Rays News

Tampa Bay Rays: A Train Wreck in Seattle

By David Egbert
Jun 2, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (23) reacts to walking in a run against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 2, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (23) reacts to walking in a run against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

A good opportunity was lost this past weekend for the Tampa Bay Rays, as their starters imploded in the three-game series against the Seattle Mariners.

The Tampa Bay Rays were on a roll. They had won six straight series including the first two series on a nine game road trip. The last stop was Seattle and it looked like a good opportunity to make it seven straight.

Seattle was playing under .500 baseball and were 14 games out of first place in the Houston dominated AL West. However, it didn’t take long for the wheels to come off the bus. The Rays lost the first game 12-4 in a very ugly manner and went on to lose the next two in similar fashion. When the smoke cleared, the Mariners had racked up 38 hits and nine walks and scored 28 runs to the Rays’ seven runs.

Even worse, the major villains were the Rays’ starters. Jake Odorizzi, Alex Cobb and Erasmo Ramirez, combined to gave up 21 runs and 25 hits in only ten innings. In those 10 innings, the three starters threw a total of 259 pitches! In Odorizzi’s case it was not all his fault. Brad Miller, just off the disabled list and playing second base, made an error and botched a double play ball that lead to five unearned runs.

More from Rays News

In part, that led to Odorizzi lasting only one out into the third inning and throwing 77 pitches. Cobb was terrible giving up 9 runs in five innings. Ramirez was a bit off giving up four runs in 4 2/3 innings while throwing 92 pitches.

The only good news from the weekend was that the Rays hit five more home runs, five of the team’s seven relievers threw a total of ten scoreless innings. Tim Beckham continued his impressive defensive play throwing out Robinson Cano with a great throw from his knees. While the home runs and defensive plays may have made the highlight reels, it still remains that the Rays were beaten badly.

So what are we to make of these three games? Are they just a speed bump in the road to eventual success or are they the beginning of a fall that will keep the Rays in last place in the AL East? The answer to that question probably boils down to starting pitching.

More from Rays News

This is the second year in a row that supposedly All-Star pitching staff has been erratic. While Chris Archer and Matt Andriese have been on top of the game, Odorizzi and Cobb have been erratic and Snell was banished to Durham. The latter three have just not thrown enough quality strikes and the results have been too many deep pitch counts and a lot of runners on base.

This pitching staff also needs a better receiver behind the plate. Derek Norris has delivered more offense then most Rays’ catchers but he is a liability as a defensive catcher and a pitch caller/framers. I haven’t heard many Rays starting pitchers calling for him to be their catcher. Ramos is a solid receiver and the pitching staff will be better when he is behind the plate.

Finally, the Rays need to get a solid lineup on the field that can hit and play defense. Yes, the Rays have had a lot of injuries but they have juggled the lineup far too much. Trying to find a place for Brad Miller and Rickie Weeks has led to poor defense and far too many strikeouts.

When Matt Duffy and Ramos return, the Rays need to put an everyday lineup of Corey Dickerson, Kevin Kiermaier, Evan Longoria, Logan Morrison, Steven Souza Jr., Tim Beckham, Duffy and Ramos on the field.

Next: Rays players that could be on the block

Will all of this, plus the return of Brad Boxberger as a setup man for Alex Colome be enough to push the Rays past their competition in the tough AL East? I don’t know but I do know that it will go a long ways toward avoiding disasters like the one that happened last weekend in Seattle.

facebooktwitterreddit