The Tampa Bay Rays may not be contenders, but that has not stopped them from putting up numbers like they should be. Looking at a macro-level, the Rays are one of six teams that have put up a top-ten WAR in both offense and pitching in the second half this season:
It’s amazing what a healthy Kevin Kiermaier can do for you. That, and an Evan Longoria that is destroying baseballs off the back wall in center field...
And yet, if you were to look at the top story lines this second half, the great Grant Brisbee didn’t register the Rays as note worthy in his piece this morning. It’s got all the hot takes you could want about the Reds though...
As for the rest of that game, I’m sorry, this has to be acknowledged. Red Sox rookie Andrew Benintendi, the seventh overall selection when the Rays drafted Garrett Whitley 13th last season, made what could be the catch of the year:
But golly did the Rays have a nice defensive gem of their own on the night.
The Rays lost by four runs, and have three games left in the series. If things don’t work out, they can try to play spoiler again next week when they travel to Fenway next Monday.
- Following the trend of Andrew Friedman believing in prospects the Rays cut (hello, Andrew Toles!), The Great Pumpkin has made it to Double-A in the Dodgers system as a knuckleball pitcher. I am officially furious this isn’t happening with the Rays.
- Roger Mooney writes that Kevin Kiermaier can’t rule out the AstroTurf from being the source of his recent hip injury:
"The turf, it does do some crazy things to our bodies every now and then. Some days you can feel great and a couple of days later, you don't change anything, and your body feels awful."
Kiermaier said the mental toll of a 162-game season is just as taxing as the physical and can lead to physical issues.
"So there are a lot of things that come to play," he said. "The turf probably has a part to do with what's going on."
- Blake Snell after yesterday’s four-inning performance, on his need to pitch in the zone: “I just need to do it.”