The Rays started off their first road trip of the season with two straight wins, one of which was due to a clutch Joey Wendle three run homerun in the top of the ninth that rekindled some of that 2020 magic. The last four games had no such magic, as Tampa Bay dropped all four, one to Miami and all three to Boston, to end the trip at a dismal and disappointing 2-4.
During the current four game losing streak, the Rays have been outscored 38-16, and gave up double digit runs twice – a concerning note especially on a team that will need to count on pitching to win. The Rays added Michael Wacha, Rich Hill, and Chris Archer to fill the gaping hole left by Blake Snell and Charlie Morton. The trio of newcomers gave up a combined 11 earned runs in 11 innings of work.
To make matters worse, the bullpen faltered multiple times, including blown leads by Diego Castillo, Jeffrey Springs, and Ryan Thompson. The bullpen, as a whole, surrendered a brutal 13 earned runs in 13.2 innings. Basically, what could’ve gone wrong, did go wrong in the final four games of the road trip. The good news is, it’s only six games into the season with a full 156 to turn it around. The Rays will look to start that turnaround in their first home stand of the season:
Three vs. the New York Yankees
Tampa Bay will have to try to end their losing streak against arguably the best team in the American League: the New York Yankees. Their home opening series will be their toughest test yet, but this time they’ll have roughly 9,000 strong behind them as the Rays will let fans back into Tropicana Field for the first time since the 2019 ALDS.
The Yankees’ offense has been inconsistent in their first few games as they put up a combined eight runs in their three games against the Blue Jays, then proceeded to drop seven runs in back-to-back games on the Orioles. For the most part, their pitching has been strong as Jordan Montgomery and Corey Kluber both combined for ten innings of one run ball. However, Domingo German struggled, allowing three earned runs in three innings of work.
The Rays offense hasn’t been bad, but they will need to step it up a notch if they want to compete with the strong bats from New York, especially with Ryan Yarbrough, and possibly Tyler Glasnow both not pitching in this series.
Friday 4/9 (3:10 P.M.): Rich Hill (0-0, 9.00) vs. Corey Kluber (0-0, 2.25)
Saturday 4/10 (1:10 P.M.): Chris Archer (0-1, 13.50) vs. Domingo German (0-1, 9.00)
Sunday 4/11 (1:10 P.M.): TBD vs. Jordan Montgomery (1-0, 0.00)
Four vs TEX
After concluding their six game homestand against Toronto and San Diego, the Texas Rangers will come to town to square off in a four-game series against the Bay Boys. Their offense has stolen the headlines, led by former Ray Nate Lowe, who recorded 13 RBIs in the Rangers’ first five games. That’s the second most RBIs in a team’s first five games in baseball history, only behind the Orioles’ Chris Davis, who had 15.
The Texas pitching, however, has been a concern giving up a grand total of 39 runs in their first six games. The Rangers don’t pose as much of a threat to the Rays as New York does, but Tampa Bay will need to take care of business and build momentum for their next road trip. While it is way early, it would behoove the Rays to get back on track by taking advantage of a weaker opponent before going on the road to face the Yankees and Royals. (All pitching probables for theses series are TBD).