Tampa Bay Rays: The Bats Have Gone Stone Cold

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 21: Pitcher Alex Cobb (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 21: Pitcher Alex Cobb (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /

Not too long along, the Tampa Bay Rays batters were getting the hits, they were scoring many runs as their situational hitting got the job done. However, recently every good aspect of their offense has gone stone cold leaving the starting pitchers out to dry.

Remember earlier in the season when the Tampa Bay Rays had some games where they were lighting up the scoreboard, well lately it has been the complete opposite. The scoreboard operator could have gone on vacation the past few games and it would not have mattered.

Over the past four games the Rays played, they were shutout in three of them. In addition, all three of those shutouts came at home where they have been a much better team than on the road. To make matters worse the pitching staff put up great starts that did not matter because the team gave them no run support.

The first game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Jacob Faria pitched six innings and only allowed one run on four hits and struck out nine batters. The sad part about that game is the Tampa Bay Rays actually had nine hits but no one was able to score. The second shutout also came against the Brewers and Alex Cobb had a great start. He pitched six innings and only allowed one run on five hits and struck out six.

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Finally, after those two shutouts, the Rays were able to muster up a win and beat the Brewers 2-1 on a Steven Souza Jr. walk off home run, but two runs is not anything to write home about either.

Then after that game the often hated Boston Red Sox and Chris Sale came to town and most fans knew the chances of that not going well were high. Sale pitched his usual dominating performance, striking out 13 batters and only allowing two hits over eight innings pitched.  Sadly, Ray’s rookie Austin Pruitt had another solid outing having only allowed one run over six innings pitched.

To put it into prospective the Rays had 90 games before the All-Star break and only got shutout four times. Since the All-Star break the Rays have played 24 games and have already been been shut out four times. As well, since the break they are only averaging 3.2 runs per game and the most runs they scored in a game since the break were seven which came in a loss.

To make matters worse, the Tampa Bay Rays traded Tim Beckham to the Baltimore Orioles at the deadline.  The same Tim Beckham who just won the American League Player of the Week after hitting .583 with three home runs and six RBIs in six games. Beckham in the meantime has helped Baltimore get back into the playoff race putting the Orioles just 1.5 games behind the Rays.

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The key to turning this ship around is to get key players hitting again. Corey Dickerson and Logan Morrison were red hot the first half of the season and need to get out of this slump. Morrison is still leading the team in home runs at 28 and has only hit four since the break.

“We’ve gone through a dry spell,” Souza said. “The pitching’s been great. So all we have to do is start getting the bats alive again. There’s so much baseball left to be played. This is such a tough stretch, and we really haven’t really had that tough of a stretch up until this point.”

Two other key players Brad Miller and Wilson Ramos have not hit well all year and both are currently hitting under .200 for the season. Miller hit 30 home runs for the Rays last season and only has four this season, while Ramos who was Tampa’s biggest off-season addition since he won the Silver Slugger Award last season has been anything but a Silver Slugger.

This current shutout trend needs to end now for the Rays to have any post-season hope.  Tonight they face Boston again and will face Rick Porcello. He has struggled at times this year and has a record of 5-14 to go along with his 4.70 ERA.

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With any hope, the Rays will stop the bleeding tonight and get back to their winning ways.