This one goes out to all the chicken littles

If you are worried about the Rays' position in the ALE in May you should probably fly out to Vegas and put a ton of money on the Injuns and the Orioles making the postseason right now. Before you do that, reconsider that the calendar currently reads May. A win in May counts as much as a win in September, but bear in mind a few things.

1) The Orioles bullpen is a mirage, ours probably isn't

They've gotten fantastic results so far to the tune of a 2.31/3.75 ERA/FIP but that also indicates that they've been a lot luckier than their peripherals suggest, unless you're a big believer in the defense of the likes of Chris Davis, Robert Andino, et al. Additionally, those arms have racked up 155.2 IP in 45 games, which would put them on pace for about 555 innings. Their SP just isn't good enough to carry them late into games consistently. Last season their bullpen was called on for 565 innings of 4.31 FIP pitching to back one of the worst staffs in the AL East (thanks, Boston!).

Compare that to our own Rays who have pitched 128.1 innings to this point, on track for 459ish innings. They're underperforming their FIP to the tune of 3.65/3.45, possibly due in part to our defense not being of the calibre we've grown used to the past few years. I don't know about you, but I expect our SP to get better in terms of going deep into starts with Yields and Price continuing to perform and hopefully some longer stints as our young guns Hellickson and Moore settle down. Last year we leaned on our relievers for a paltry 391 IP due in large part to deep pitching performances by the entire staff.

My point is that which of these bullpens do you expect to tire out over the season? The Orioles have gotten great results so far-better than the Rays for sure-but don't be surprised when they wilt in the summer heat. In that regard we should get an extra boost once Farnsworth comes back around/after the All-Star Break and in September when we may see the likes of Chris Archer and Alexander Torres assisting in our playoff push.

2) A wealth of flexibility

$tinky $tu and Friedman have combined to build a winner here on a few different budgets, but offseason acquisitions like Carlos Pena and Luke Scott show that they consider this year a big window of opportunity. By committing $63.2 million to the payroll this year they still have the flexibility to add at the deadline if they feel a good value presents itself. We have a lot of prospects that could be attractive to teams if we need an arm or a bat come June, and I don't feel that Friedman's lack of moves at the deadline in the past preempts him from making a deal if it will benefit the team now and in the future.

3) None of our injuries are season ending

Longo will be back in June. Deezy should be back this weekend. Farnsy may take some time to ease back into high leverage after the ASB but apart from a few hiccups our bullpen has really stabilized as of late, and his arm will take the place of whoever is struggling most. Even Niemann will be back this season, although the results Cobb has put up last season and in his one start this season have been excellent. Fuld could be back in August/September although who knows what lingering effects the wrist could have. And Lobes should THANKFULLY spell the end of the Gimmer Era, even if he is only mildly less awful. We've got a lot coming back and it seems like we're always riding someone's hot streak to support the AAAA lineups Merlot Joe has been throwing out there.

I mean look at us all scoreboard watching in May. It's fucking May. Who cares where anyone is in the ALE. Perhaps we've banked some wins in the early going and now we're losing some due to the rash of injuries, but no one has run away with the division and every team in it has some obvious flaws. Regardless, due to the utter awfulness of the West and Central, it is becoming ever more apparent that unless the Angels suddenly become what everyone expected them to be (which is very possible), both wildcards will come out of this division and at this point the division title is anyone's game. Get healthy, keep winning, and make smart moves.

RIP hfitzy

Go Rays!

This post was written by a member of the DRaysBay community and does not necessarily express the views or opinions of DRaysBay staff.

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