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Rays struggles continue...

By Ken Filler
Apr. 16, 2018

The poor Tampa Bay Rays. They just can‘t seem to catch a break. We knew going into the season it would be difficult scoring runs. We knew the bullpen was going to be in a constaunt state of flux. Now we get the word that for the third year in a row the Rays best player Kevin Kiermaier will miss 8-12 weeks due to ligament damage in his thumb.

Kiermaier jammed the thumb sliding into second base yesterday and immediately left the game. The best case scenario is he will be back in late June. Worst case scenario late July after the all-star break.

When Kiermaier does come back, he will probably need to introduce himself to a lot of new teamates as the Rays will soon be trading anyone that has value and is making a decent salary to save even more money.

Wilson Ramos is already being talked up in trade talks with the New York Mets who lost both of their catchers to injuries last week. Travis d’Arnaud is out for the year and Kevin Plawecki will miss a couple of months. This leaves the catching duties to Jose Lobaton and rookie Tomas Nido.

Chris Archer’s value continues to drop like a rock, as he just struggles every time he takes the mound. In the last two years, the “ace of the staff“and the No. 1 starter in Tampa Bay has a 19-31 record with a 4.05 ERA. This year, Archer is 1-1 with a 7.84 ERA and had a early exit against the Phillies over the weekend. These are not numbers that indicate a No.1 pitcher is about to take the mound.

As the Rays go through this rebuilding process, they do not have an ace or a No. 1 pitcher that can be counted on to slam the door and shut down the opposition. Jacob Faria and Blake Snell are still learning how to pitch at the MLB level. Yonny Chirinos and Ryan Yarbrough are rookies trying to find their way.

The Rays are currently 29th in offense hitting .216. The Cleveland Indians are the only team below the Rays hitting .200.

With Brad Miller on the DL and Kevin Kiermaier joining him, the Rays will really need to count on the likes of Joey Wendle, Mallex Smith and Johnny Field to step in and contribute.

The Rays are 3-12 and off to the worst start in club history. Before the season started I thought the Rays would be good for 72-75 wins. After these last two weeks it‘s looking like 60 wins would be a good season.

The Rays have struggled putting complete games together the first part of the season. The offense does well and gives the pitchers a nice lead to work with and the bullpen blows it. Or the pitchers pitch extremely well holding the opposition to 2 runs or less, and the offense can’t manufacture any runs. Despite the record the Rays are averaging around 19,500 a game through seven home games.

I know I’m not the only one that saw this coming. I hope the Rays can get this turned around and quickly. The schedule should be in the Rays favor over the next 9 days as they play Texas and Minnesota at home before beginning a road trip in Baltimore against the Orioles.

This team can’t be this bad can they?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports