3 Rays That Need to Step Up For The Rest of the Season

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Corey Kluber
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Corey Kluber

Kluber has been going in the opposite direction of Arozarena: after a dominant month of June, he has faltered in July, and he needs to reverse that trend. The Rays need to keep their rotation deep behind Shane McClanahan, and while Drew Rasmussen and Jeffrey Springs have been consistent enough, Kluber needs to stay steady in order to maintain a solid rotation from their #1 to #4 starters. On the season, Kluber has a 4.03 ERA, 4.00 xERA, 3.38 FIP, and a 1.15 WHIP on the season. He has made 20 starts and pitched 105 innings.

His 1.4 BB/9 leads the American League, and that ability to limit walks has led to a glowing FIP, but his poor month of July has led to an average of a hit allowed per inning on the season. In the month of June, Kluber limited batters to a .261 xwOBA, meaning he was doing an excellent job of suppressing quality contact. In July, that ballooned to a .323. As expected, poor results followed: his ERA at the start of the month was 3.45, and it has jumped nearly 60 points since. Kluber needs to regain some consistency if he wants to have a successful second half.

Kluber's days of throwing over 200 innings and being a perennial Cy Young contender are over. He doesn't have to be the same franchise-altering pitcher that he was back when he pitched in Cleveland; he's 36 years old after all. However, if he could tone down the amount of traffic he has allowed on the bases of late and eat up quality innings for this injury-tested staff, it would go a long way toward ensuring that the Rays can not only make the playoffs, but be in their best shape possible when they get there.