Rays News

Tampa Bay Rays: Roller Coaster Rays

By Timothy Pease
May 31, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) is congratulated by his teammates in the dugout after hitting a two run home run in the second inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
May 31, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) is congratulated by his teammates in the dugout after hitting a two run home run in the second inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /
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It has been a roller coaster season so far for the Tampa Bay Rays, and in time key players will return, hopefully making way for a strong finish and a great ride.

The 2017 season for the Tampa Bay Rays has had a number of ups and downs and it leaves fans wondering what exactly should fans expect on a nightly basis. The last game was a big downer with the game tied in the series finale against the struggling Orioles.

In the ninth inning with the Rays best pitcher Alex Colome on the mound,  all he had to do was get three routine outs so the Rays had a chance at another walk off win, but the complete opposite happened.  He ended up allowing three runs and that put the game pretty much out of reach at that point.

That latest bullpen issue was one of many this season. The Rays bullpen currently has 17 loses already this season, that’s almost half of the Rays total losses. It’s understandable with rookies such as Austin Pruitt taking a loss from time to time but for a veteran like Jumbo Diaz it seems like a roll of the dice every time he takes the field and that is something that needs to change.

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Brad Boxberger is returning this week and should eventually become the setup man if he can pitch like he did in the past which will be a huge addition to the bullpen.  Another positive addition is putting Erasmo Ramirez back into the bullpen since Blake Snell was brought back up and is once again a starter.  Snell struggled earlier this season but has dominated down in Durham.

Other issues the Rays have had are a number of errors. Those should also become a thing of the past.  This is because one of the players with the most errors was Derek Norris and he is no longer with the Rays since Wilson Ramos has returned.

Also Tim Beckham has had a handful of errors filling in at short stop, but the Rays just acquired Adeiny Hechavarria who will become the everyday shortstop.  He is one of the best defensive shortstops in the MLB and has been in the running for the Gold Glove twice in his career.

The biggest disappointment however is the number of injuries to star players. Starters Kevin Kiermaier, Matt Duffy, and Brad Miller have all missed multiple months.  Other stars such as Boxberger and Ramos who was the biggest off season addition are finally getting back on the field.

Once everyone is healthy it will be a completely new lineup and Kevin Cash is going to have some tough decisions to make on who to start and who to send down.

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While there has been a number of negatives this season there are also many positives. The Rays are right in the Wild Card race and even in the AL East race.  Currently the Rays are in third in the division and only three games behind the Red Sox and Yankees.  This is impressive with all of the issues and injuries that have occurred this season.

Another bright spot has been rookie pitcher Jacob Faria who had to fill in for the injured Matt Andriese who was having a great season too. Faria currently has a 2.10 ERA and a record of 3-0 and has been a solid addition to the rotation.

You can’t write an article this season that mention positives without mentioning Corey Dickerson and Logan Morrison. Morrison is having a career year and is currently third in the MLB with 22 home runs and should surpass his career home run total of 23 set in 2011 with the Marlins well before the All-Star break.

Dickerson  is leading or near the top in every offensive category and finally got some love in the All-Star game voting and is now in second place in the American League among all designated hitters.

The 2017 season has been an interesting one and while it’s had its ups and downs it has still been a promising one. For the first time in years the Rays are actually buyers and have made a number of moves already that have helped the infield depth.

The Rays are on the right track and as a fan its nice to see the team starting to spend money to improve the product on the field and its beginning to show that it was worth it.

Next: The Tampa Bay Rays Must Overhaul Their Bullpen

The big question is how will this roller coaster ride end? With everyone happy and wanting to ride again or everyone disappointed and wanting their money back?

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