The Tampa Bay Rays Pitching Gets Them to .500
- Updated: April 27, 2011
You have to take your hat off to the Tampa Bay Rays. Their play had to be on the mark for the last two weeks and it has been just that. The team is 8-3 out of the last 11 with a .500 record after starting the season 0-6. It was a must win situation in every game they played to stay in the hunt and they have accomplished the task.
The American League East is very close from top to bottom with only the Yankees maintaining a winning record to date. Tampa and Boston (at the time of this writing on 4/24) are only 3 games back, Toronto is close at 3.5 games back and Baltimore in last 5 games back. Tampa ended an important series with the Blue Jays and has themselves in 2nd place. Pitching has remained strong and it remains within the top 10 in MLB in all pitching categories. Hitting is still lagging behind with the Rays in the bottom 10 of MLB rankings. It took the Jays 11 innings to beat the Rays on Friday night and a rematch on Saturday. By the end of the day on Easter Sunday, the Rays had taken the series. With the division being so close from top to bottom the Rays need to maintain their momentum if they are to catch the Yankees.
Sam Fuld is hitting an impressive .360 and has certainly filled in the gap left by Manny Ramirez’s bat. BJ Upton who was hot out of the gate and leading the team in all batting statistics has cooled and has been virtually silent for the Rays since the first week. His average has dropped from .361 to .212 in the past couple weeks. If the Rays start hitting as an overall team, things will change fast in the American League East.
Team ERA has been the secret ingredient to winning for the Rays at 3.86. As far as team ERA goes, they are in the top 10 in MLB. The pitching staff has kept the Rays in the hunt when the offence is just getting warmed up. This coming week will have the Rays taking on the Twins and the LA Angels. If the bats ever needed to get hot, it is now. With an 11-11 record, offense, defense and pitching will need to come together to continue winning games and hanging in at the top of the division.