The Tampa Bay Rays are in must win salvage mode after dropping the first three games of four in New York against the first-place Yankees — twice in walk-off fashion.
The Rays have dropped eight of ten during this, their toughest stretch of the season. Yet in spite of their malaise, they remain in the postseason race 4-1/2 games behind the Yankees in the division, four behind Boston for for the top Wildcard spot, and 2-1/2 games behind Kansas City still for the last playoff spot.
They still have 15 games left against the Red Sox and Yankees, however, the big problem for the squad has been winning at New York Yankee Stadium. Tampa Bay is 0-6 this season, and 6-19 since the 2015 campaign.
Hearing #Rays are still being aggressive despite recent skid in looking for ways to improve team. Bullpen, RH bat likely focus
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) July 30, 2017
Because of this extended stretch of poor play, Marc Topkin opined that the Rays could, and should, add more players before the 4:00 pm deadline Monday if they are truly serious about their postseason aspirations.
And they are looking to keep adding, still shopping for another bullpen arm, as well as possibly dealing one of their second basemen, Tim Beckham or Brad Miller.
After Saturday’s bullpen failure, we here at X-Rays Spex cannot help but feel that the beleaguered* relief staff could use all the help it can get.
The New What Next
Jacob Faria (5-1, 2.67 ERA, 3.65 FIP) will start for the Rays on his 24th birthday, opposite of LHP Jordan Montgomery (7-2, 3.92 ERA, 4.07 FIP).
Faria has pitched well since being promoted from Triple-A Durham, posting quality starts in eight of nine starts. He bounced back with an impressive 7-1/3 inning start — his longest outing since he went eight for Montgomery at the end of 2015. There was a legitimate fear of familiarity with Faria facing the Orioles for the third time this season, yet the right-hander scattered seven hits, walked two and struck out five; holding the birds to 1-for-6 wRISP. His pitch mix kept the Orioles off balance, and though Baltimore made some noise with loud, hard contact, defensive luck — with those balls finding gloves not gaps — kept Faria in the black.
Montgomery carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning in his most recent start against the Reds. He, however, was pulled from the game after tossing just 85 pitches, after he allowed one run on two hits, while fanning six. Montgomery made his big league debut against the Rays in April and allowed three runs on five hits (including a homer) over 4-2/3 innings. Key Matchups: Tim Beckham (1-2), Peter Bourjos (1-2), Steven Souza Jr. (1-3, 2B)
*Hey now, we used beleaguered WAY before it became part of Donald Trump’s lexicon.
Rays 7/30/17 Starting Lineup
— Kevin Kiermaier was scratched from the lineup yesterday for the Charlotte Stone Crabs because of back tightness. Kiermaier doesn’t expect it to be serious, and he isn’t eligible to come off the disabled list until August 8th, so …
— Daniel Robertson was hit by a pitch in his fourth and final plate appearance in a rehab start with the Stone Crabs yesterday. The infielder was removed from the game but received a fine prognosis after the game.
— Diego Moreno, who was designated for assignment late in the week week, was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Indians.
— Aaron Judge now sits at .170 BA/.318 OBP/.340 SLG/.658 OPS since the All Star Break with an 18% walk rate, and a 35% strikeout rate. Saturday represented his fourth multi-strikeout game this week.