June 6, 2014, 4:02 am
American Spectator contributor and Tampa Bay Rays fan Larry Thornberry must be beside himself.
The Rays have lost 10 games in a row. Tonight, they lost to the Miami Marlins 11-6. While the Marlins are now tied for first place in the NL East with the Atlanta Braves, the Rays are 14 games back of the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East and their 23-38 record is the worst in MLB.
The Rays haven’t won a game since the day before Memorial Day when they beat the Boston Red Sox 8-5. Ironically that win handed the Red Sox their 10th straight loss. Since then they have been swept by the Blue Jays, the Red Sox and now a four-game sweep by the Marlins.
The Rays are resembling the old Devil Ray teams that were perennial AL East cellar dwellers between 1998 and 2007. But the Rays have made the post-season four out of the previous six seasons including winning the AL pennant in 2008. I predicted they would win the AL pennant this year. Yeah, so much for that Tampa Bay-Arizona World Series.
The big problem is that three of their starters — Matt Moore, Alex Cobb and Jeremy Hellickson have been hurt most of the season. While Cobb recently returned and Hellickson is expected back later this month, Moore is out for the year due to Tommy John surgery. Then again, the Yankees are missing C.C. Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova. Yet the Yankees are still above .500. Masahiro Tanaka has lived up to the hype and his 9-1 record have kept the Yankees in contention. In other words, Tanaka has pitched like an ace. The same can’t be said for David Price who is content to plunk David Ortiz.
The Rays aren’t hitting either. Only the Houston Astros have scored fewer runs in the AL than the Rays. It’s a shame because Rays have until now been successful doing more with less. Rays manager Joe Maddon has not only been innovative with his use of the shift, but his themed road trips have created an atmosphere of camaraderie including a Woodstock themed “Seven Days of Peace & Baseball”. But that all goes out the window when you don’t win.