The Rays might be good

Updated: April 19, 2017

One thing that has been consistent in the box score in the early going is that the Tampa Bay Rays have had a rough schedule. They have played just 15 games thus far and have a 7-8 record, but those games have come against the Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays and Tigers. That is one of the best teams in all of baseball and three teams that many consider to be the top Wild Card contenders in the AL. That is not easy baseball.

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They are coming off a run where they won one out of five against the Yankees and Red Sox. However, in those four losses they saw three games decided by one run and the other game being decided by two runs. Small sample size? Sure, but we know that a team’s record in one-run games is often luck based.

Taking a quick look at their depth chart and it seems as if Chris Archer is looking great after a rough 2016. Blake Snell has been good as well, but his walk rate is alarmingly high. Matt Andriese has been decent while Jake Odorizzi and Alex Cobb have been disappointing early. The bullpen has been strong led by Alex Colome. It’s hard to get much from this early info, but you have to expect better performances from Odorizzi and Cobb as the season goes on. Especially from Cobb who is still recovering from Tommy John surgery. The more he feels like himself, the better he will be.

Of course, if anyone struggles this is a team with a deep farm system. I am dying to see what Jose DeLeon can do at the major league level after coming over in the Logan Forsythe trade. You have to think that Tampa is going to be doing some arbitration/service time trickery with him to keep as much control as possible, but he should be here by June at the latest.

The offense is a weird lineup as is always the case with the cash-strapped Rays. I really like the Corey DickersonSteven SouzaKevin Kiermaier outfield. The defense is always amazing with these guys and keeps them valuable, but they have been three of the best hitters thus far. That’s a great sign. Brad Miller has built on his 2016 breakout and they’ve gotten solid contributions from Logan Morrison early. I wouldn’t expect that last part to continue though. Matt Duffy should be back from injury soon and Evan Longoria hasn’t really hit yet. There is a lot to like here.

Honestly though, I am just encouraged by the Rays ability to hold their own through this tough opening schedule. The Jays offensive collapse has certainly helped them early and I’m excited to see what this team will do when their schedule gets a little bit easier. That won’t be any time soon though as they finish this current series against Detroit, then host Houston, visit Baltimore and Toronto. The AL East is always a monster and it’s amazing that any of these teams ever get out of the division.

Still, I think the Rays should be able to keep their head above water and then May offers some reprieve. They play eight games against the Marlins and Royals that seem winnable. They also have two nice, long homestands in that period and the Twins. Tampa is a team that I am going to have my eye on for the next couple of months.

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