Friday, April 19, 2024



For a division as close as the AL East, there's other tactics at this stage to really separate teams. You can tell who had the early upward momentum that are now heading downward [the Red Sox], or which teams that started off cold are beginning to find their footing [Jays]. The Rays, however, have the worst SRS figure in the AL, meaning their run differential contrasts wildly with the strength of their opponents so far. This means dropping games to not only evenly-matched teams, like the Jays, Angels and Giants, but the worst team in the NL. Their -2.0 SRS is worse than the A's, and even the White Sox, meaning the White Sox have at least been as bad as expected given their schedule.

It illuminates the fact that the Rays...might be just plain okay this year. The big newsmakers are either injured [Brandon Lowe, Shane McClanahan, Josh Lowe], slumping [Randy Arozarena, Yandy Diaz], or...I dunno, kinda there but not wowing anybody [Zach Eflin, Jose Siri]. There's only two people currently with more than 10 RBIs, one is Diaz and the other is Isaac Paredes. The big average guys are people like Amed Rosario and Ben Rortvedt. There's a ton of starters that are clearly fill-ins and shouldn't be; Rene Pinto, Curtis Mead and Richie Palacios are contingency plans, not starters. Again, it's not their fault the starting shortstop for the next 10 years decided to ruin it all by being a creep. This is the path that has been chosen for the Tampa Bay Rays, despite the best laid plans of everyone who put this team together.

And I think you're beginning to see the limits of this team in that respect. If the big guys the team is centered around can't do anything, the team just...isn't as good. Having all people from other farm systems lining the team works if it leads somewhere. This year, the heart of the lineup is Paredes and Siri. Isaac Paredes has 5 homers and 12 RBIs. Jose Siri has struck out 32 times in 20 games. Yes, he has defensive perks and can get stuff done at the plate but his dimensions are falling off. Aaron Civale is essentially the ace this year, and even in Cleveland he had someone like Shane Bieber to work behind; here he's got a 2.74 ERA but I don't think it's ace material. Even Ryan Pepiot, who had some monster starts to begin the season, has leveled out to a 4 ERA and a 2-2 record.

And yet the Rays are still above .500 by two games and winning series'. This is still a decent team, and playing in the AL East allows an 11-9 start to blend in, because even the worst teams in this division are still doing better than most of the other divisions. The quality is so high that the Rays having a rough start still comes off as a win for them. 

This week they play the Yankees, who had a monster start but are cooling down a bit. Logically, the Yankees outmatch the Rays in almost every way, but this is a team that can give us trouble. We'll see how the Rays show tonight, and if that says anything for what we'll see from them the rest of the season.

Coming Tomorrow- I figured he'd have a miserable last contracted season and then his team started playing really well.

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