It’s not the rainy season, but the Tampa Bay Rays are raining down home runs.
The Rays have totaled 60 so far, and Friday night, right fielder Steven Souza, Jr. and first baseman Steve Pearce each hit solo homers. The Rays washed out the Tigers in Detroit 7-5.
What’s happening? Third baseman Evan Longoria explained, “We added some guys who can hit home runs, and they’re showing up.” They definitely are. Eleven players have hit home runs so far this month. Longoria added that, although no one is near the league lead, several players have hit five or six homers.
Steve Pearce’s explanation is that “we’re feeding off each other.” Pearce is a new addition who’s really coming through. A utility player who was signed to a one-year contract, the most home runs he’s hit in a year has been 21 in 2014 baseball-reference.com. He has seven so far in May.
Hitting coach Derek Shelton pointed out that the hitters simply aren’t making mistakes. “The biggest part is, don’t miss it,” he said. “I think that’s what separates a really good at-bat…some guys get it, and that’s why the ball’s been going out of the ballpark.”
But the Rays realize that home run hitters have their downside. Shelton acknowledged that the Rays’ strikeout numbers are high. He admitted that players swing and miss, but added that, “you take a little bit of the good with the bad.”
But for now, it’s raining and sunny in Tampa at the same time.