2011 Tampa Bay Rays mid season review

The Tampa Bay Rays have a 45-37 record and find themselves in third place in the American League East. One has to feel sorry for this team, has they are in one of the hardest divisions in baseball, and their stadium situation is less than ideal. They have spent 15 days in first place, and even built a lead of three full games but the payrolls of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox always mange to catch up with them. They are 10-2 in interleague play, but a 6-6 spilt with the Baltimore Orioles leaves their divisional record at 15-12.

Their offense has scored 344 runs, and as a team, they are hitting .243. That is the fourth worst team BA of the 14 American League Clubs. Rays batters have struck out 589 times, third most among the AL teams, and have drawn only 256 walks. While two of their regular nine starters are batting better than .300, SS Reid Brignac is hitting under .200. Those numbers seem to indicate that the Rays could use some offensive help at the trading deadline.

The Rays pitching staff has given up 317 runs and the staff ERA is 3.63 or fifth best in the American League. They have struck out 538 batters, and issued 238 walks. That is the third fewest in the AL, and one of the reasons they have a winning record. Four of the five regular starters have at least seven wins, and their closer has converted 16 saves.

Beyond needing some help offensively, if I were a fan of this team or working in their front office I would be concerned with the bullpen. Kyle Farnsworth has done ok as the closer, but the ERA’s of the other bullpen staff seems a little elevated. The starting pitching is pretty good, and adding some bullpen help could propel this team to a potential wild card playoff birth.

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