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Rays look solid after 6 games but questions remain.
Posted By Zack Greenfield On Apr 13 2012 @ 1:57 am In Tampa Bay Devil Rays | No Comments
Despite losing 7-2 to the now 5-1 Detroit Tigers yesterday, the Rays are still 4-2 on the young season with many reasons for optimism including a 3 game sweep of the Yankees. A couple things that I noticed that the Rays and their fans should be happy about.
First of all the starting pitching has been, as expected, very good. Other than James Shields’ start on opening day, all the other starts have been solid. The strength of the Tampa Bay Rays this season is supposed to be their deep starting rotation and they have proved that through the first 6 games.
Second, Carlos Pena is hitting .429 through 6 games after his 2 for 3 effort on Thursday. I have always said that Pena should never have left in the first place but the Rays did the smart thing in bringing him back. If he has a good season, along with Evan Longoria, the Rays will have a much better chance at winning the division.
Third, Speaking of Longoria, he is also off to a great start this season. He went 2-4 on Thursday to raise his average to .476 through the first 6 games. If the Rays want to make a deep playoff run this season, then Evan needs to be the man in the middle of that order, driving in runs and getting big hits.
Despite the good start, there are some things that the Rays need to improve in.
First, the rest of the offense has to start hitting more consistently, especially guys like Jennings, Zobrist, and Joyce. BJ Upton’s return should help but if the Rays want to win the divison this year over teams with better offenses like the Yankees, Red Sox, and even the Blue Jays, the other guys in the lineup have to produce on a consistent basis.
Second, the bullpen has been shaky at best. Other than Fernando Rodney, who has been pretty good, the bullpen isn’t performing as well as they need to. The starters can’t always go 7 innings and there will be games where a starter is knocked out early. Therefore, the Rays need the middle relievers such as Peralta, McGee, and Davis to perform better. The return of Kyle Farnsworth should help with this.
Overall, the Rays shouldn’t worry too much right now about their issues as it is still early but Rays fans should be happy about their team right now. This team is going to be interesting to watch, all season.
Next blog: Sunday, April 15th
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