You can only play what is on the schedule. It’s an axiom as old as baseball, and it’s mostly true. The Tampa Bay Rays had to open their season with nine games against MLB kids with mittens pinned to their jackets all year long, and they did all they could. who always has to beat the one who loves Pee the piss out of them to the tune of a 9-0 record with a run-difference of +57. This would work out to a margin of +1,026 runs Throughout the season. Which would be delicious.
But yes, it’s hard to judge what the Rays are up to when they’ve played the Tigers, the Nationals and the A’s, the last of whom they beat a combined 22-0 on Saturday and Sunday. You’d figure they’d be facing a top-tier side, at least on opening day pitcher, given that most have to. They got Eduardo Rodriguez in Detroit, who is the definition of fine. It’s also the only game they’ve been held to fewer than five runs, so they clearly get butt when facing a hot body on the mound! well not really.
Here’s a list of the early people he’s faced since then, and see how many of them you knew real people Before You Read This: Spencer Turnbull, Joey Wentz, Trevor Williams, Chad Kuhl, Patrick Corbin, Ken Valdichuk, Shintaro Fujinami, and James Kaprelyan. The definition of the Williams and Kuhl plug that bad teams sign because someone actually has to stand on the mound and toss the ball somewhere Every fifth day at home plate Patrick Corbin is dead. Waldichuk is not a real person, and Fujinami and Kaprielian are athletics. So yeah… chum.
rays’ The numbers are hilarious. Vander Franco is slugging .757, which would make him the Frank Thomas who could play shortstop. He’s already collected 0.8 fWAR, which would put him on pace for 14.4 fWAR, which would be the second best single season ever (Ruth, ’27, you may have heard of it). They have five guys with Has wRC+ over 200 (100 is average). Drew Rasmussen and Jeffrey Springs haven’t given up a run in four combined starts. Shane McClanahan has taken two wickets. Zach Efflin has been the real bum of the group, allowing four runs in 11 innings through two starts. His four relievers have not given up a run so far.
Nothing lasts forever, and the Rays will surely get a tough test against the Red Sox with three games to go and then test against Jays next weekend (though they can’t get anyone out this time). There are no big games in the MLB regular season, especially with the extended playoffs, but at least the Rays can breathe hard for a while this week.
That said, in a division where one can expect the Yankees, Rays and Jays to bite each other equally, who wins the division and gets out of the wildcard round could come down to How much can they beat? on various drags around the league. A 9-0 run against them could play a big part in going 7-2 against the Yankees or Jays, which would still be more than an acceptable run.
Franco is worth watching. last season he was cursed by a He suffered a wrist injury, which is something that will take the hitter a long time to heal even after returning to the lineup. While not a quarter of his fly balls are going to turn into homers (though with this baseball it could), he has shown far more discipline at the plate, while putting up high-end contact numbers when he swings. . He That means his 90.5 average exit velocity and 40 percent hard-hit rate could be things we continue to watch, which should lead to some pretty big numbers.
In terms of pitching, although they were pioneers in the use of the bullpen and openers, the Rays have recently become fairly traditional. And that’s even with Tyler Glasnow trying to find all the pieces and put it back together again. Drew Rasmussen has struck out 35 percent of hitters he’s seen in two starts, and the extra depth in his cutter has made it Bugs Bunny-like (40 percent whiff rate) so far this season.
Rays will lose, probably this week. For most of the season, he will not have to face such fodder. But hey, you can only eat what’s served.