Tampa Bay Rays: Five Things We Learned from Opening Week

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

The starting pitching was not ready

One thing that Tampa Bay could count on going into the new season was the starting rotation. Many in the industry did not give the Rays much of a chance to win the American League East, but by all accounts it was widely believed they not only had the best pitching staff in their division, but perhaps one of the best in the entire league.

This is an organization that has one of the best pitching prospects, Blake Snell, waiting at Triple-A and also Alex Cobb preparing for his comeback in late July/early August.

But after only six games there is some concern as the starting pitching has been biggest weakness in what resulted in a 2-4 record, with the two wins coming in come-from-behind fashion.

Another point to note is no starter has been able to pitch late into the game. In spring training there was an expectation from the staff to be able to pitch into the seventh inning and beyond. To date, Drew Smyly has gone the furthest pitching 6.1 innings.

The lone bright spot of the staff is they continue to put up strikeouts. With 42 strikeouts in 33.1 innings pitched they have showed they can dominate hitters.

With a staff 5.67 ERA and a .289 BAA, Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey has to conjure up his magic. After playing two of the better offensive teams in the league in the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles, the Rays come into this week hosting the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox. Both teams that have showed some offensive struggles, and could provide a chance for the starting rotation to reset itself.

Leave a Reply