What The Tampa Bay Rays Need to do in the Second Half
- Updated: July 16, 2011
The season is halfway over and it appears that the Rays are still hanging on to a place at the table come October. Being 6 games out, the chances of taking the Division seem slim, but given the equation of a normal team in Major League Baseball of winning 50, losing 50, and fighting for 62 games each season certainly gives the Rays a chance. There are two ways to get to the playoffs at the end of the year. Win the division or earn a wildcard birth.
The Yankees and the Red Sox will make it difficult for the Rays to earn either path to the playoffs. Starting at 6 games out of first place and 4.5 games out of the wildcard, it will be a challenge for the Rays to progress to either spot. However, do not count them out yet. There are some injuries that will come into play for the Yankees and the Red Sox that could help the Rays gain a game here and there.
The Tampa Bay Rays are very strong on the road and will need to continue that consistency to make a run at the top spot. Their home record sits at .500 presently and the Rays need to improve on that home record to make the difference. .500 is a great record to have in home settings, but normally you would think that home field advantage would make a big difference. However, playing indoors is never a plus for any team in a setting like the Tampa/St. Pete region.
Pitching continues to be the strong suit for the Tampa Bay Rays. The team ERA is 3.58 with Jim Shields yielding a team leading 2.33 average. Kyle Farnsworth has 17 saves and has figured into the winning percentages dramatically. Price who appeared to be the strongest point of the Rays pitching staff has slipped over the past month. Although his numbers are still upscale, he has dropped some games in the win column within the last 4 weeks.
BJ Upton seems to be back on tract for a productive year after getting off to a very slow start. At this point, Upton leads the team with 15 homeruns, 50 RBI’s, but only has a .239 batting average. A far cry from what he is capable of producing. Matt Joyce leads the team while hitting .290 with the team batting average sits at a low mark of .245.
In essence, the Rays have their work cut out for them to go the distance and make up ground over the next 10 weeks. It is not impossible, but they need to take advantage of the upcoming series with the Red Sox and the Yankees to sneak back into the playoffs picture.