For the Rays, Pitching is Keeping the Ship a Float!
- Updated: May 4, 2011
A couple weeks ago, I had written that once the Rays bats start to get hot, lookout. Well, it is not that the team is batting at its full potential, but the pitching staff has really held their ground and the Rays are consistently winning. What they have done lately is most impressive. As I stated in the first three Rays Reports, that 0-6 start really puts a team behind the 8-ball right out of the gate. Now, with a 15-12 record, the Rays have made a total transformation since the first week.
Pitching is still the strongest asset the Rays have and has kept them in games and certainly contributed to the winning record. James Shields is the first pitcher since 2002 to throw consecutive complete games for the Tampa Rays when he accomplished the feat last week.
The bats came alive in a few games this week by putting more runs on the board. Sam Fuld’s average has dropped off to a normal .260 after setting the world on fire with his hits and run production early on. Matt Joyce is batting .321; Ben Zorbrist has 7 home runs in 100 at bats and also leads the team in RBI’s with 25. Sam Fuld still leads the team with total number of hits for the season after coming on the scene a week late.
Team ERA has fallen from 3.86 to 3.40. Power Rankings show that the Rays have dropped one spot from last week, mostly due to the strong showings from the Red Sox who jumped from 25th to 13th. There are 2 players that are in the Top 10 in stats in hitting and pitching for the Tampa Rays who are now ranked 21st in MLB for team batting average and 8th in team ERA. As has been the case over the season thus far, pitching has kept the Rays in the hunt and it will need to continue this coming week with series against the Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles. Winning each series will create more space between the Rays and the other teams in the division. Only 1.5 games out of first, the Rays could find themselves leading the American League East by this time next week.