Identity crisis: A Mid season review of the 2013 Rays

Identity crisis, the definition for this season. The season looked quite bright for most fans after the end of spring training. The Roberto Hernandez experiment looked strong, Rodney just dominated planet earth in the WBC — continuing his strong showing from last season, we gained some new pieces and it seemed we could weather the loss of Davis and Shields. We got to know new players like Kelly Johnson, James Loney, Juan Sandoval and Shelly Duncan, we learned to accept Escobar, we saw what a healthy Scott looked like, Longoria seemed ready, we saw dominance from prospects like Lueke, O’Malley, Figueroa, Anderson, Archer, Romero and Lee. Finally, we got to see our big pick ups, Myers and Odorizzi. Things looked great, especially following comments by Rays skipper Joe Maddon regarding the team’s strength as compared to previous rosters. But the wheels fell of quickly…

Looking Backward While Moving Forward: Zobrist, Escobar, and Scott Muscles Tampa Bay Past Minnesota

In the series preview, I wrote, “They’ve (the Twins) averaged almost five runs per game over the last 15 games, while the pitching has given up (on average) almost six. This bodes well for the swarming offense of the Tampa Bay Rays.” I’m not calling myself Nostradamus or anything, but it does emphasize that the Rays 7-4 win against the Twins Monday night is par for the course, for what Minnesota has done over their last 15 games. That’s not to belittle Tampa Bay in any way, shape, or form. Rather, it should show that the Rays are doing exactly what they need to be doing in the pre All-Star Break stretch.

Looking Backward While Moving Forward: Matt Moore, Rays Blank ChiSox 3-0

It may have not been the offensive outburst of the previous night, however the Tampa Bay Rays, with Matt Moore at the helm, beat the Chicago White Sox by a score of 3-0 Saturday at the Trop. He may not have been perfect, but Moore did just enough to stifle a sluggish White Sox offense, making the big pitches when necessary over the course of his 6-1/3 inning outing. There’s just something about Matt Moore… At least the 2013 model — things don’t seem to phase him. Case in point, a nerve racking pair of innings in which the White Sox could have broken the game open, but didn’t.

Looking Backward While Moving Forward: Escobar Hits A Walk-off, Miggy Gets Chirpy

As Marc Topkin so eloquently put it, “There was plenty of emotion on the field Saturday night as the Rays raced out of the dugout to swarm Yunel Escobar, whose 10th-inning walk-off single capped a rare late-inning comeback and an impressive 4-3 win over the Tigers.” And for a team that was 2-32 when trailing after seven innings, last night’s win was huge.

Looking Backward While Moving Forward: Rays, Hellickson Snap Jays 11-Game Winning Streak

Jeremy Hellickson worked into the seventh inning for the first time since May 22nd, in the Rays 4-1 handling of the Toronto Blue Jays Monday night, snapping Toronto’s 11-game winning streak. Don’t look now, but the Rays are starting to look toasty once more. Not only have they strung together back-to-back victories, they’ve also won four out-of-their last six games. The game also went down in the annals of Rays history and lore, after James Loney, Wil Myers, and Sam Fuld hit back-to-back-to-back solo shots for the first time ever in the Trop. More on the game below, in a segment that we like to call The Good, The Bad, and The Argyle: A Bulleted Summary of the Game.