After sweeping the Los Angeles Angels, they get swept by the Chicago White Sox. All in the friendly confines of the Trop. For the Tampa Bay Rays, a ride like this should not surprise.
On Thursday night, after sweeping the Angels, the Tampa Bay Rays were riding high. They had just won three games against a team with big names playing at .500 baseball. Scoring margin for the three wins was +11. They had just made several big moves that looked to tease us into thinking they just might hang around and make the rest of the season interesting.
Then, newly acquired Tommy Pham gets hit on the foot and goes down for a month. And, the White Sox came to town. If one image could recap the weekend series, it would be this:
But, Rays fans, we shouldn’t despair. For every thud that the Rays fall down to, they seem to get up smiling. This type of topsy-turvy play should be expected from a team this young. And, this promising. This is a team that is in the process of weathering multiple Tommy John surgeries to key pitching prospects. They are on their way to revolutionizing pitching as we know it with Openers. In some ways, you can’t help but think about, well, the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays.
How do the last two months of the 2018 season play out? This next series against Baltimore should be a good indicator.
After a much needed day off at home with the family, the Tampa Bay Rays begin a three game series with the Baltimore Orioles tomorrow night. A week ago, the Orioles outscored the Rays 40-16 in beating them three of four games in Baltimore. Both teams have adjusted since the trade deadline. Rays masher Jonathan Schoop is gone. Top starting pitcher Kevin Gausman is elsewhere. But, so is Chris Archer. What a difference a week makes.
The injury to Tommy Pham just days after joining the Rays is a fitting picture of how things have gone this year for Tampa Bay. Yet, if you ask anyone, things haven’t gone nearly as bad as would have been expected. This is a team on the cusp. Even in yesterday’s 8-7 loss, Mallex Smith slashed four singles, Joey Wendle went 3 for 3 with a homer and yet another prospect, Brandon Lowe, made his major league debut.
With every game, the Rays are gaining much needed experience. The number of one run losses is an indicator of how close this team is. Sure, it stinks that these close games end in defeat more often than not. But, August and September should give everyone enough encouragement to believe in the “wait until next year” statement.