On May 18th 2004 the Rays were 10-28, buried in the AL East already and written off as awful and possibly the worst team in baseball. They finished that season out of the basement for the first time and had a franchise high in wins. Am I grasping at straws to keep up the optimism? Yes I am! The point still holds, however.
The pitching isn't this bad, we know that. Bell and Hendrickson aren't aces or even quality starters but they are mediocrities and will even out their performances over the course of the season to be mediocre instead of awful. Kazmir is a mystery at his age but as the season goes on the strikeouts will come...let's just hope that the reason they haven't come yet isn't because the coaching staff convinced him to do anything different in an attempt to improve his control. Let that come naturally, if he keeps doing what he did at the end of the 2004 season then he'll be fine. Nomo could turn it around and be the best pitcher on the staff or he could fight it out with Brazelton for the worst. Those two spots are big question marks but even Brazelton shouldn't have any trouble keeping the ERA below 5.50...Nomo, we'll just have to wait and see.
The bullpen is solid though it would really help to have Colome back. I don't trust Carter, McClung has been inconsistent, and Waechter has a strong affection for gophers so those three spots aren't completely reliable at the moment. The rest is fine, at least until someone has to move into the rotation. I have no worries about Baez, Harper, Miller, and Fossum all being good, though not spectacular (Fossum might have a shot at that though).
The hitting sucks but what else is new? It always sucks! There's enough talent in the lineup to keep things from completely bombing over the course of the season, as for the rest we'll just have to hope for miracles/injuries/prospects. Things WILL get better. They'll never be good this season but the sweep in Fenway and 19-8 loss won't become completely representative of our season.
One defensive note. Singleton has been completely awful in the outfield so far. I don't know much about him so I have no exact expectations but I'm sure he can be better than this. He needs to be, and soon.