ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 05: Infielder Felipe Lopez #45 of the Tampa Bay Rays tags out base runner Maicer Izturis #13 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at third base during the game at Tropicana Field on April 5, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
We all know the drill by now. The Rays lost...again. The offense was pathetic...again. This is beginning to look like a bad movie stuck on repeat, and I feel like I've already watched Damon strike out or pop up weakly about 50 times this year.
The Rays lost to the Angels 5-1, only getting only four hits for the entire afternoon and scoring their lone run on a solo homerun by B.J. Upton. Some of the Rays worked good at bats and made solid contact, even if they didn't get a hit, but there were others that looked pretty bad up there. Collectively, the Rays have a .136 team batting average on the year; their team wOBA going into today was .222 (and I'm sure it only got worse).
The Rays have been bad at the plate, but if there's any light in this darkness, it's that the Rays simply can't continue hitting this poorly forever. Whether you like Brignac, Damon, Rodriguez, Joyce, Johnson, etc., they're all major league caliber players and will eventually start hitting. Even last year's Mariners ballclub, which had possibly the worst offense of any team in the last 20 years, had a team wOBA of .286. The Rays are simply unsustainably bad right now, and things will improve....the question is how soon.
These games are in the bag now, so if you were expecting the Rays to be around an 88-win team going into the season, the Rays are now looking more like they're in line for around 85-86 wins. With Longoria out for a few weeks and the Rays moving on to Chicago to face the offensively-charged White Sox, the Rays need some other players to step up on offense and get the club moving. The first win is the toughest, yes?
Bullets after the jump.
- Jeremy Hellickson was awesome in his first start of the season, going 5.2 innings while striking out 10, walking two, and only allowing three runs (well, it was two until Adam Russell let an inherited runner score). Maddon pulled him promptly at 99 pitches, as the Rays didn't want Hellickson working too hard in his first start of the year. He didn't get as much work in as other pitchers during spring training, so even though he kept his velocity up all game long, they wanted to ease him in to the season slightly.
- Cesar Ramos looked good in his inning of work, and while Joel Peralta let up a few hits and one run, batters weren't crushing the ball off him or anything like that. After all the talk this off season about how the Rays bullpen would be a disaster, I find it mildly amusing that the bullpen hasn't been the reason for the Rays' early season struggles. If you'd told me before the season began that the Rays would start off 0-5, my thought wouldn't have been that the offense was to blame; I'm sure I'd have figured it was a result of pitching implosions.
- Jake McGee's velocity is something I want to look into, as he only seemed to be hitting in the low-90s today. He's shown that he can crank it up to 97 MPH when he needs to, but I wonder if there's a reason he hasn't dialed it up more often. Is he actively trying to mix his fastball speed, or is he simply not letting it fly as much as he could?
- B.J. Upton continued his hot hitting, smacking his second homerun of the season. With his longer stance, it seems like Upton is a lot quieter and quicker in getting locked once a pitch is thrown, and he certainly unloaded on Haren's fastball today.