The Rays can't come home soon enough. It was a rough week for the Rays, who went 3-4 in the final two legs of their long road trip. All in all, 3-4 (and 4-6 on the 10 game road trip) isn't as bad as it could have been. There still are some things that should excite Rays fans. The Rays could have the best middle-of-the-order in team history in 2012. And despite not playing anywhere near their best baseball, the Rays still have a winning record overall. Here's hoping home, sweet home, brings the best out of the Rays this week.
James Shields: One of the ways an ace is defined is someone who can stop a losing streak. Shields stopped the Rays slide in a big way, with his 8.1 shutout innings of the Red Sox. Easily his best performance at Fenway, Shields gave up only four hits, all singles. In the game wrap up, Erik Hahmann gave us Shields career stats at Fenway: "In 10 career games coming into today he had allowed a slash line of .300/.356/.526."
Luke Scott: I think every Rays fan hopes the Wolverine can keep his hamstring healthy, because this week he showed his shoulder is very healthy at the plate. In six games, and a pinch hit in the seventh, Scott blasted three home runs, including a grand slam, and led 11 Rays across home plate. The Rays wanted to add some power in the off-season when they replaced Kotchman and Damon. In the first two weeks, so far, so good. Pena and Scott have combined for .a 325 average, .462 OBP, 6 HR, 26 RBI, 1.037 OPS.
Wade Davis: There is much to be said about the horrendous road trip for the Rays bullpen. The Rays phoned Durham twice for bullpen help in the past week. But one bullpen member that got through this week unscathed is the newest (in experience) member of the bullpen. Davis stepped up and gave the Rays much needed innings when David Price couldn't get past the fourth inning, and threw three shut-out innings vs Boston. Davis overall pitched 4.2 shutout innings, striking out five and giving up no walks. So far the Davis bullpen experiment is a success and Davis could see himself moving towards the late innings, just like J.P. Howell in 2008.
(Hon Men: Matt Joyce (the Rays batting average leader for the week with a .360avg and 2 HR), Sean Rodriguez (6-for-18 with four walks), and Molina's framing which can cause a Red Sox helmet to be thrown down to the ground in rage)
The Bullpen: The numbers speak for themselves. In 21 innings, the bullpen as a whole gave up 20 earned runs, 32 hits, and 13 walks. Oofdah. The only positive is the bullpen is how it started to turn around in the Blue Jays series. I'm still rooting for Howell to put it all together. McGee might need some time in AAA to grow comfortable in throwing his secondary pitches.
Evan Longoria: Last night's 3-for-4 performance with a 2-run HR, accounted for just about half of Longoria's hits for the week. But Longoria's defense has garnered the most attention, as the normally sure-fire, gold glover had four errors this week, including a three error performance vs Boston. Best to just chalk up this week as one to forget and move on.
Short Starts: A major part of the bullpen woes has been how much they've had to be used. Only two starters went 6 or more innings in the Rays last 7 games. Once the starters start performing up to expectations, the less the bullpen will be exposed.
What are your thoughts on week two?