Well this may not have been the start to the season that Tampa Bay Rays fans wanted to see, but with a depleted roster and a series of trades designed to flip veterans for prospects it is hard to say that Rays fans should not have seen this coming.
Things started well enough for the Rays, winning on Opening Day against the Boston Red Sox by a score of 6-4. Starting pitcher Chris Archer, despite a shaky second inning, pitched admirably in the opener and Denard Span began his regular season with a triple that drove home three runs in what ended up being the deciding play of the game. Span, who had quite an impressive slashline during Spring Training, has been a potential bright spot on the otherwise mundane Rays roster.
However, since that Opening Day victory the Rays bats have seemed to fall asleep — failing to score more than four runs in their last five outings. David Price of the Red Sox pitched a gem of a game in the second outing, canceling out an equally impressive performance from Rays 25 year old lefty Blake Snell who gave up only three hits in his 5 and 2/3 innings.
After the home series against the boys from Fenway, the Rays traveled to the Big Apple to take on the Yankees. While only two out of the three scheduled games got to be played (with one being postponed due to heavy rainfall) they were uninspired affairs for the Rays players. On April 4th, unfortunately, the Yankees hitters figured out Blake Snell and bounced him from the game by the fourth inning. The ensuing result was a plethora of Rays relievers trying to get the Rays back in the ballgame, but once again the hitters were slow to get going. Yet Denard Span did in fact add another RBI — bringing his season total to a respectable total of six.
Dropping five games in a row this early in the season, of course, can’t bring too much optimism into the hearts of Rays fans and with six more road games before coming home to Tampa things may end up actually getting worse before they get better. It goes without saying that the Rays will need to start hitting the ball better if they want to reverse their disappointing results to begin this season.