Coming off a frustrating walk-off loss to the Mets, the Tampa Bay Rays currently sit at 43-44 with just over a week left before the All-Star break.
The Rays have been good at the Trop this year. But they’ve been much worse on the road, and they’ve been terrible in one-run games.
In 40 games at home, the Rays have gone 23-17, scoring 4.02 runs per game while allowing just 3.1 per game. Part of that has been Blake Snell, who in 8 home starts has gone 6-1 with an 0.87 ERA.
However, in their 47 road games, the Rays have gone 20-27. They’ve scored just 3.7 runs per game and have given up 4.49 per game. The pitching has been inconsistent at best in road games, and the offense hasn’t shown up in big spots.
But it’s not as if the Rays’ road games have been more difficult
The teams the Rays have faced at home have a .540 winning percentage. On the road, that number drops to .492. The Rays have had a significantly easier road schedule but haven’t been able to capitalize on it.
To add to the frustration, the Rays have played the most one-run games in baseball and have posted a 16-21 record in them. They’ve also gone 3-10 in interleague games, and considering that’s against the NL East, its particularly disappointing.
During their homestand to end the month of June, the Rays went 8-1 against the Yankees, Astros and Nationals. That stretch gave us reason to be optimistic about the second half of 2018. The Rays looked like they were finally putting it together and the youngsters were all contributing.
But the last four games have been as frustrating as we’ve seen from the Rays all year. At first glance, the Rays first four series’ in July look very winnable. Three games each against the Marlins, Mets and Tigers, with a four-game stint in Minnesota before heading into the break.
The Rays’ woes on the road have continued, however, after losing two of three to the Marlins and dropping the first game in New York. Rays fans are left wondering why this team is so inconsistent. The answers are there: the pitching staff has been riddled with injuries and the younger players have been good but are still developing.
Where do the Rays go from here?
We’re left to wait and see when the Rays front office will decide to start making moves for the 2019 season and beyond. Wilson Ramos is almost certainly going to be traded; how much longer will we get to enjoy the Buffalo?
Chris Archer is slated to return Monday to start against the Tigers. Will that be one of his last starts in a Rays uniform? And will the Rays find a suitor for Adeiny Hechavarria?
We all knew this probably wasn’t the Rays year. They have too many holes and too many inexperienced players in big spots. Add in the devastation the pitching staff has seen and we’re bound to be in for a long season.
But we’ve seen glimpses of this team’s potential, which makes the losses tough to bear. We saw the Rays load the bases with one out in the ninth last night, only to come away empty handed. Then we saw the Mets load the bases in the bottom half of the inning, and the Mets emptied the bases on Jose Bautista’s grand slam.
One of the more frustrating parts of watching the Rays this year is knowing they’re better than they’re playing most nights. They’ve played well at home, but they need to be better on the road. There’s still plenty of baseball left in 2018, but there’s no better time than now to start playing well. Hopefully then can take advantage of their weak schedule before the all-star break and keep Rays fans engaged a little bit longer.