- Baseball in the Garden of Eden, A Book ReviewPosted 776 days ago
The Rays 0-6 Start Are Now Without Ramirez…Now What?
- Updated: April 11, 2011
Covering the Tampa Bay Rays was supposed to be a year of excitement on the field. Winning has gotten off to a slow start as well as the bats of Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon. A start of 0-6 is certainly not what any team GM or manager wants to contend with. In addition to the poor start to the season, the Rays rank 30th in runs scored, batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage in Major League Baseball. B.J. Upton is putting up good numbers but nobody else on the team seems to be able to match his performance at the plate.
To add even more troubles for the Rays, the decision for Manny Ramirez to retire after a 19-year career in baseball has added to the panic. Ramirez was once said to be the best player ever seen by MLB scouts prior to him being drafted by the Cleveland Indians has called it a career. Manny has certainly had his problems with almost every team that he has played with and decided to escape the 100 game suspension by retiring. His fault or not, the most recent drug testing policy violation would have made him unavailable to the Rays for most of the season.
On the day of his retirement, he is in a category with the elite of baseball. His .319 career batting average, 555 homeruns, and .411 on base percentage are most impressive. Only two other players are in the same category with these types of numbers, Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds. It is unfortunate that Manny Ramirez is the only player to be in a category by himself for testing positive 2 times for performance enhancing drugs. This will certainly create a cloud of controversy about his entire career and the numbers he put up. Where the numbers enhanced by PED’s? We will probably never know the answer to that question. The expectations from Manny were high. He was supposed to help the Rays with a boost in offensive power. Now, the Rays are left without a key member, which they were hoping to rely on heavily for run production.
Pitching for the Rays has not been very spectacular either. James Shields has put up the only decent numbers on the entire pitching staff for the team. The team ERA over six games is 4.42 while giving up a total of three homeruns, 26 earned runs, 45 strike outs, and 12 base on balls. Even though it’s extremely early in the season, the Rays should be concerned. Hitting, pitching and overall run production is very low. However, defense is positive with a .991 percentage. There have been only two errors by two different players through the first six games. At this point, defense and the 10 strikeouts pitched by Jeremy Hellickson are the only shinning spots for the Tampa Bay Rays.
It has been said that in the game of baseball, you will win 50, you will loose 50, and the other 62 is something a team must be determined to fight for to be in contention at the end of the season. So far, it appears that the Rays are on pace to loose the 50 games first and get that part of the equation out of the way. The pitching must improve as well as the hitting. Without the two coming together very soon and remaining consistent, the Rays are in for a long season. B.J. Upton leads the team in every batting category. In comparison with his other teammates, there is no comparison. The rest of the lineup must start producing when the opportunities present themselves if they want to win consistently.
There is still hope for the Rays. Starting off with a 0-6 record does dampen the spirits of the Rays faithful. However, this is baseball. Anything is possible and I would not say that the Rays are completely out of contention just yet. Baltimore cannot continue at the same pace they are currently on, nor can Toronto. The Yankees are always just a step behind and Boston will certainly start to win more consistently, too. This coming week will be a determining factor for the Rays as they finished a series with the White Sox (this past weekend), a three game series against the Red Sox (which starts tonight) and then taking on the Twins. Manager Joe Maddon knows the importance of winning over the next week. The season may depend on it.