It is only early in May, But the Rays are not playing well. What is worse, they are in a division where the Boston Red Sox are running off an leaving everybody. The Rays are only 6.5 games out, so it is surely not time to panic, but there are some troubling signs.
1. David Price is not pitching well at all. Last season, when he lost or got a no-decision it was because of no run support. He can't say that so far this season. He is just getting hit and hit hard. He is 1-3 with an ERA up around 6. Not good. The Rays have also lost the games in which he got a no decision too.
2. Evan Longoria has been playing every day, yet the Rays are still losing. The last two years, Longoria missed half the season. In the half he missed, the Rays played around .500. When he was in the lineup, the Rays were closer to a division winning percentage. Not the case this year.
3. The bullpen is very leaky. That had not been the case in the past few seasons. This year, the bullpen has been terrible. Jake McGee, Brandon Gomes, Jamey Wright, they all seem to get hit hard. The Rays have had the lead in 11 of their 16 losses. Not all were blown by the pen, but that is not good.
4. Still no Jeff Niemann. It's getting to the point where we have to wonder if the Rays will ever get anything form him. He is always on the DL.
5. Cannot win on the road. The Rays are normally a good road team. Not so far this year. They are 5-12 on the road. That won't get it done.
The Rays will not go anywhere without Price and Longoria carrying them. Matt Moore has been great, but he can't keep up his pace all year. Jeremy Hellickson and Alex Cobb look good. Jury is still out on Roberto Hernandez. The bullpen has got to get better.
Does Price have a bit of pressure following his Cy Young year? Maybe. Opposing teams get geared up a bit more when facing him. He is also the ace now that James Shields is gone. Hopefully he will find it soon.
Will this slow start cause the Rays to call up Wil Myers a bit earlier than maybe they want to? That will be interesting to watch. With the Rays, finances often dictate decisions such as these. If they bring Myers up, then he starts his service and that makes him eligible for free agency and arbitration that much sooner.
The New York Daily News had him pegged as this year's Mike Trout or Bryce Harper, yet still no sign of him. The Rays can't afford to give fans the impression they are not doing all they can to win. Look down south at what happens when a team does that.