Work has kept me literally internet for weeks now, and Ian is on a well deserved vacation. Sorry for the lack of #analysis, I'm writing this from my phone for an important reminder:
The Rays will be fine.
A 15-20 victory run put the team 10 games over .500 with the most wins in the American League. A recent spiral of 5-20 is having the opposite effect, and now the Rays have three games left before the All-Star break against, oh look the really good Astros.
The strategy we've all known and been comfortable with - keeping the rookie and underused starters on a two-time-through-the-order rotation has made headlines lately, but only because the bullpen has been blowing games. I believe I read the 'pen is near a 7-ERA over the last three weeks. That's really bad!
But when the Rays were succeeding a month ago on the same strategy, the fan base at large was fine with it. Things will get better again. I said earlier this week this team sees themselves as contenders and that's only been reinforced by comments from the GM and Manager throughout the series in hell (ok, Kansas City, same thing for the Rays).
4.5 games back in a pretty even division is not unreasonable, the Rays overcame twice that in 2011. Let's beat the Astros once or twice, and enjoy the rest.
Fewer injured players. Regression to the mean. Not playing the Royals. Things will get better!
The second half is a new world of Rays Baseball, and the season is long. Enjoy the ride.