Category: Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Ray’s Fastballs

Over the last decade, Tampa Bay Rays have recorded more strikeouts than any other pitching staff participating in the American League. Jim Hickey has been their pitching coach for all that time. The coach has an experience of two decades as a coach and pitcher in the minors.

Hickey got to experience how the hitter’s view of a rising fastball in 2004 after joining Houston Astros. He stood against Roger Clemens in the batter’s box, at Clemens’ request. From his position, Hickey could see his challenger zoom through the finish line. According to him, Clemens would turn burn and boom! It was his first time, and he thought that the trajectory would be a ball low.

Fastballs do not rise. However, some of them defy gravity for a longer time than others, making them look like they are rising. Such fastballs usually are not the ones thrown with maximum effort, but the ones that spin the most. According to Jake Odorizzi, Rays’ right-hander, this kind of fastball is usually referred to as the ‘invisiball’. Even though you might be seeing it, it is often challenging to hit it.

Odorizzi and most of his teammates can perform the move. Last season, none of the hardest throwers pitched for Tampa Bay, yet a study by Fangraphs in March indicated that the Rays threw over 60 percent of their fastballs (four-seam) up in the zone. According to Rays’ starter Chris Archer, the players will have to pitch to their level best as it continues to be the team’s edge. Watching the Rays pull the ‘invisiball’ move remains to be the most enjoyable part of the game.

The Rays’ Move in New Acquisition

The Rays made a significant move that eventually lead to their success when they acquired Chaz Roe. Due the unclaimed through waivers and a lat strain, Roe has recovered after a long DL stay. He will go to Triple-A Durham, where the Rays will confirm his ability of what he demonstrated during the previous five seasons in the majors. Kevin Cash; the team’s manager said it was going to be a great mix since they were not used to throwing several balls in the bullpen, something that Roe has the experience to do.

With the top target being Justin Wilson of Detroit LHP, the Rays are consulting with many teams concerning bullpen help while casting a wide net, some rentals like Pittsburgh LHP Tony Watson and Pat Neshek of Philadelphia RPH are included. This calls for a high acquisition cost that includes Hunter Strickland of San Francisco and a right-handed bat that they are looking for. They have clarified that they feel good about the new members and are interested in their options that will be there in Durham.

The 30-year-old Roe previously played for Yankees, Diamondbacks, and Orioles, and the Rays will made great achievements by acquiring him. Meanwhile, Logan Morrison was honored to be selected by the MLB Players Alumni Association as the winner of the Rays’ Hustle and Heart Award, embodying the game’s traditions, values, and spirits. According to him, however, his focus his not on the award but that the Rays should win more games as he plays harder.

Will Rays Trade for Bullpen Help?

Tampa Bay is only a couple of games out of first place in the AL East, and right on their heels are the New York Yankees. With the race for the division crown red hot, the Bronx Bombers have put a huge amount of pressure on both the first place Red Sox and the Rays with their trade that brought slugging third baseman Todd Frazier and pitcher David Robertson (2.70 ERA, 13 saves) to the team. The pressure is now on Tampa Bay to try and do something to bolster its roster for the stretch run.

One area the Rays are looking at is their bullpen. Yes, Alex Colome has 28 saves, but his 3.71 ERA is a bit high for a closer. Tommy Hunter has done a tremendous job paving the way for Colome with a 1.88 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 28 innings. The rest of the bullpen, however, is suffering from sky high ERAs.

So who can help? One possibility is Philadelphia’s lone All-Star Pet Neshek. He’s 3-2 with a 1.17 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 38 innings. He’s also being targeted by Boston, so Tampa Bay may have to be quick to pull a trigger on any deal for Neshek.

Another pitcher in Tampa Bay’s sights is Justin Wilson. The Detroit closer is 3-3 with a 2.29 ERA and ten saves. With their recent trade of J.D. Martinez to Arizona, the Tigers have shown they are in fire sale mode and willing to deal their top talent. Your text to link…

No doubt one or both of these pitchers will help Tampa Bay’s bullpen, and perhaps give them the edge in the American League East race. The question is, who must the Rays give up to get them?

Tampa Bay Rays on the Rise

The Tampa Bay Rays are on the rise once again. While other teams wonder who they are, the Rays know. As a matter of fact, they have known their identity for most of the last decade which has led to a consistency when other teams ride highs and lows. It is also the reason they are once again battling the powerful Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees in the American League East. With a modest $70 million payroll, they are smart because they know who they are and stay within themselves.

Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports has them moving into his Top Ten MLB Power Rankings this week ahead of the Yankees. He explains his reasoning in this video clip https://sports.yahoo.com/mlb-power-rankings-surprise-al-east-contender-172241269.html . It’s easy to agree with the points he makes.

Chief among his reasons is their consistent and powerful offense led by Logan Morrison, Steven Souza, Jr, and Corey Dickerson. Morrison has 26 home runs, Souza has 18, and All-Star starter Dickerson has 17. They make a combined $6 million or so and have 61 homers not a hundred games into the season. Their pitching rotation features Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, and Jake Odorizzi. It has the second best ERA in the American League behind the Houston Astros. They play solid defense, don’t hurt themselves, win more than they lose, and keep themselves in the pennant race against the behemoths in the division.

The Rays are rising by knowing who they are. They pay their players what they can, create a consistent culture, embrace their identity, and remain true to themselves. They aren’t flashy but they are good. And while everyone else had their eyes focused on the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, the Tampa Bay Rays are on the rise once again.

Tampa Bay Rays acquire reliever for the stretch run

The Tampa Bay Rays find themselves in the somewhat unfamiliar position of being buyers at the trade deadline. The franchise, which was moribund when it first came into the league, then a contender under Joe Maddon had been going back to being mostly an also ran until this season. The Rays are currently second in the AL East and just two games out of first place. The team sits at 50-44 entering Tuesday’s play. The Rays are also in first place when it comes to the AL Wildcard race.

Because they are indeed poised for the post season, the team has made a trade for a reliever in order to help them with the stretch run. Tampa acquired Char Roe from the Atlanta Braves and the Rays didn’t even have to give up much of anything to get him. In exchange for Roe, the team sent back cash considerations.

Before he does help the team in the stretch run, he’ll have to believe he belongs in the major leagues. Roe was not on the Braves major league roster before the trade and Tampa has said he will be added to their AAA Durham Bulls roster. While he might be having to fight his way back to the major league roster this year, when he’s been able to get people out, he’s really been able to get people out.

In 2016, over a very small sample size of just 60 right handed batters, he mowed through them as though he were a hot knife through butter. The Rays have said this isn’t likely the kind of move that is going to put them over the top, but it might be one that adds some depth. If Roe could find the thing that made him so successful in 2016, he could be a sleeper.

Rays Continue Playoff Push

So far during the 2017 MLB season, the Tampa Bay Rays have been one of the most surprising teams in the league. The Rays came into the season looking like they would have a rebuilding year. This was largely due to the very competitive AL East division, which includes the Yankees and Red Sox. While the Rays were not expected to do much this year, they have surprised a lot of people who now believe this could end up being a very big year for the team (http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/martin-chronicles/is-this-a-special-rays-season/2330857).

Through the first half of the year, the Rays are sitting in second place in the division with a record of 51 wins and 44 losses. They are currently two games behind the Red Sox and a few games ahead of the Yankees. While the Rays will have a lot of work to do the rest of the year, they have a lot of opportunities to take over first place in the division and advance to the playoffs. If they are not able to win the division, they also look like they could be in good shape to win one of the two Wild Card spots. The Rays are currently 2.5 games up in those standings.

Much of the reason for the good season that the Rays have put forth so far is due to their young talent. Logan Morrison has proven that he is one of the top young stars in the game. He currently has 26 homers and more than 60 RBIs, each of which put him in the running for the league lead. They also have some great pitchers, which include Alex Cobb and Chris Archer. Both of these pitchers are looking as if they would help the Rays win a playoff series if they are able to advance that far.

Rays Beat Blue Jays With Homers

The Tampa Bay Rays did what they have done so often this season in the opening game of their series with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Rays hit home runs to eventually seal an 8-1 victory. The team is quickly becoming known as one of the most powerful teams in baseball with a lineup that pitchers should be very cautious of. Taylor Featherston got the fireworks started right away by blasting a home run to start the third inning. Logan Morrison continued his transformation into one of the most feared hitters in the game by hitting homer number 18 on the year.

 

One of the most pleasant surprises for the Rays this year was the starting performance they got from Jacob Faria. He shut down the Blue Jays bats in only the second start of his career. He gave up just a single run while pitching six innings. Rays manager Kevin Cash could not have been happier with this young starter. Cash praised Faria’s composure because he did not show any nervousness.

 

Marco Estrada did not have as good a time on the mound for the opposing team. He continued to struggle as he has all season. His ERA is around 4.50 and he has failed to keep the Jays in many of his starts. Estrada failed to get out of the 4th inning against the Rays. This is his shortest start of the year so far. Despite his very poor outing, Estrada was not dejected when he was interviewed after the game. He said that he is confident that things will turn around for him this year.

 

Rays manager Kevin Cash said it is always a good thing to get a win in the first game of a series when you are playing a good team on the road. He has been pleased by the way his team has been playing as of late. He expects his team to have a dynamite second half of the season.

 

The Rays Swing Back Into Action Tonight

The Tampa Bay Rays are now starting a 2-game series up in Toronto to take on the Jays during which they hope to gain ground on the two leading American League East division teams, New York and Boston. Despite a somewhat sluggish start through April and May, they’ve started to gain ground on New York and Boston as they’re now 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees, and only 2 1/2 behind the Red Sox having won 5 of their last 6. Yet there are injury concerns that the Rays face heading into the thick of the season.

 

Starting with pitcher Matt Andriese who will be sidelined for some time, the Rays are going to be paying close attention to their bullpen and the young rookies who could be filling in for him. Taking the mound tonight for them will be Jake Faria, the rookie out of Cerritos, CA who has one win to his name so far and an era of 1.42. He will be facing Marco Estrada who is 4-4 on the season so far with an ERA of 4.04.

 

The Rays will also be making some changes in their lineup at shortstop with Tim Beckham being unable to participate due to a nagging knee injury, so taking his place tonight will be Daniel Robertson. The Rays will try to maximize on their opportunities tonight and tomorrow before taking on Detroit in a 4-game series starting Thursday. Their next off day will be on Thursday June 22 after wrapping up a series in Cincinnati and heading off to Baltimore. The Rays have outscored opponents 38-30 in their last 6 games and so far have a +13 run score differential in the season overall.

 

Rays Once Again Competing for Division

For the past two decades, the most competitive division in Major League Baseball has been the AL East. In this time, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have won eight World Series titles, which has helped to make that rivalry the top in the sport. While the Red Sox and Yankees have been the top teams in the division, other teams in the AL East have also had some success. One of the most successful teams in this time period have been the quiet Tampa Bay Rays.

The Tampa Bay Rays have been well known for developing young talent and being able to compete with the top teams in the league, even though they tend to have a much lower payroll budget. This year, the Rays once again look like they could compete with anyone in the league (http://www.foxsports.com/florida/story/tampa-bay-rays-vs-oakland-athletics-game-preview-june-09-060917-2-060917). While the season is just a couple months young, the Rays have already shown that they can consistently stay above .500.

Through June 10, the Rays had 34 wins and 32 losses, which comes after they swept the Chicago White Sox. This currently makes them the fourth best team in the division and 5 games behind the Yankees. However, the Rays could also compete for both of the Wild Card spots, which they are just three games behind at this point.

The Rays have shown that they have one of the most talented teams in baseball. They also reportedly have one of the top farm systems in baseball, which could help them be good for the next decade. On the offensive side of the field, Logan Morrison and Corey Dickerson have been leading the team. Morrison is among the league leaders in home runs while Dickerson is looking like one of the most talented players in the game. The Rays also have a talented starting pitching rotation, which is led by Matt Anderson and Austin Pruitt, each of which have five wins and just one loss.

Longoria Reaches Milestone for Home Runs:

Evan Longoria has been bombing the ball for Tampa Bay since he first made the roster back in 2008. Now all those home runs have added up for the face of the franchise.

 

On June 10th, Longoria belted career home run number 250 in a 7-2 loss to Oakland. That broke a ten game homer drought by the third baseman. It also capped off a very good night at the plate for him as he drove in the game-winning run for the Rays in the first game of the team’s doubleheader with the A’s.

 

Longoria’s manager, Kevin Cash, said not many players can claim 250 home runs in their career, adding, “Evan is not anywhere close to stopping, so he’s going to continue knocking them out.”

 

A first round draft pick (third overall) in 2006, Longoria made the Tampa Bay roster two years later. His first home run came on April 18th, 2008 off the Yankees Brian Bruney. He ended the regular season with a .272 average, 27 home runs and 85 RBIs. Not only was he named the American League Rookie of the Year, he also helped the Rays make their first World Series appearance, with six home runs and 13 RBIs during the post season.

 

Since his MLB debut, Longoria has been a model of consistency. He has hit double-digit home runs in every single season, including 17 in his injury plagued 2012 season. He has never hit below .250 in any season and has had under 70 RBIs in a season just once, 2012 with 55. Your text to link…

 

Last year, Longoria had 36 homers and 98 RBIs. As of June 10th, he has garnered 9 homers and 34 RBIs, so it appears he is on pace for a season just as productive as 2016.