Tampa Bay Rays Second Half Outlook


Jul 6, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Tampa Bay Rays catcher Molina (left to right) third baseman Evan Longoria (3) shortstop Ben Zobrist (18) second baseman Logan Forsythe (10) and first baseman James Loney (21) starting pitcher David Price (14) stand in the rain during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays reached the All-Star break with a subpar 44-53, a record that not a lot of people saw coming for one of the offseason World Series favourites, but now it’s time to look at what their outlook is for the second half of the season.

The Rays have dealt with a number of injuries to key players (Wil Myers, David DeJesus, Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson) which has factored heavily into their poor record.

They’ve also underperformed as a pitching staff, usually the teams strong point, and have struggled to hit with regularity.

Despite this, a strong run in to the All-Star break has put the Rays back into contention in the AL East and restored faith that the Rays could still be playing come October.

If you missed our first half review, you can check it out by clicking here.


The Rays are hitting .251 as a team this season, good for 17th in the majors, although their on base percentage of .324 is eighth highest, in large part because of their ability to draw walks.

They’ve scored 377 runs in 97 games, an average of 3.8 runs a game. But what’s let the Rays down has been their lack of productivity by some important components of their offense.

Evan Longoria has a .257/.333/.386 line, while Logan Forsythe, Desmond Jennings, Yunel Escobar, Jose Molina, Ryan Hanigan, Sean Rodriguez and Myers are all hitting below .250.

How many people thought S-Rod would be 4th in RBIs at the All-Star break? Exactly.

Frankly, this team needs to start hitting better if they want to turn their season around and make a push for a playoff spot. The Rays are hitting a measly .239 with RISP. The guys who are hitting poorly need to start finding some rhythm at the plate and improve their average. The Rays won’t be able to contend if they can’t score runs.

The Rays have dealt with injuries to their outfield in Myers and DeJesus, but if there is a positive out of that, it’s that the Rays have found two major league quality players in Brandon Guyer and Kevin Kiermaier, both of whom have solidified their spots on the roster with impressive first halves, both offensively and defensively.


The Rays are 17th with a 3.84 ERA and 24th in saves while pitching 872 innings all of which adds up to a not very impressive first half for the usually dominant Tampa Bay pitching staff.

Jun 22, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jake McGee (57) throws a pitch during the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Houston Astros 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A large part of that is because of the loss of Matt Moore for the season after two starts and then Jeremy Hellickson not making his season debut until July 8. That then prompted Erik Bedard to make 15 starts while Cesar Ramos made seven.

Ramos was terrible as a starter but Bedard, after a slow start, got better as the season progressed but is now pitching out of the bullpen.

David Price has been great again although is 9-7 record doesn’t indicate that right away. Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi have improved as the season wore on while Alex Cobb has shown glimpses of greatness, but has struggled more than expected this year.

The loss of Moore was a devastating start to the season for the Rays and quite frankly, it put them behind the eight-ball as it took them nearly two months to steady the ship and finish the first half of the season by winning 20 of 31 games.

Rays starters need to start pitching deeper into games in the second half of the season to alleviate some pressure from the bullpen. This pitching staff is still extremely good and if they pitch better as a unit in the second half, then this team can be in contention come September.

The Rays bullpen has been inconsistent too. Brad Boxberger and Jake McGee have been outstanding, but Grant Balfour and Joel Peralta have been a mix bag. Juan Carlos Oviedo has proven to be a good addition to the pen.


The biggest problem for the Rays has been consistency. They haven’t pitched and hit simultaneously for the vast majority of the season and that’s a major reason why they’re nine games under .500

General manager Andrew Friedman also has a big decision on his hands. The team has been unable to sign Price longterm and it’s becoming a question of when, not if, he’ll be traded. Friedman has to make a decision very soon as to whether keep Price for the duration of this season and hope the Rays can get close enough to compete for a postseason berth or to move him at the trade deadline.

The trade rumors extend to more than Price though, as Ben Zobrist and Matthew Joyce have been mentioned in potential trades. As I’ve written before, the Rays must hold off on any kind of fire sale as this team is built to be good for a long time.

The Rays aren’t out of the race by any stretch of the imagination. The AL East hasn’t been as dominant as we’ve seen in recent years and it’s wide open with any of the five teams having a legitimate chance to win the division. For the Rays though, it hinders on making sure they get off to a good start once play resumes tonight.

The only thing that matters in the second half is whether the Rays can make the postseason. They have their work cut out for them but if there’s one team in the major leagues that can turn it around, it’s a Joe Maddon led team. We’ve seen it before. Can we see it again?