Since the All-Star break the Tampa Bay Rays have had the best pitching staff in all of Major League Baseball. At the same time, the Rays have also featured the worst hitting team in baseball since the break.
The Rays have played 22 games since the break, and are 11-11. Still the Rays remain just two games back of a wildcard spot.
There is a lot of baseball to be played, but somehow, somewhere the Rays are going to need to find some balance between their pitching and their hitting.
Let’s take a look at each and see what kind of numbers the Rays have put up since the All-Star break.
How Good is the Rays Pitching
The Rays have a team ERA of 2.34, the American League average is 4.26. The BAA is .201 and the league average is .258.
The Rays pitching staff has given up 54 earned runs compared to the league average of 99.
Price is the leader of the staff and a legitimate Cy Young candidate in the American League. In 22 starts, he is 14-4 with a 2.49 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. Opposing hitters hit .222 against him.
Price ERA 1.49/WHIP 0.91, Shields ERA 4.55 /WHIP 1.23, Moore ERA 1.46 /WHIP 1.16., Hellickson ERA 3.49/WHIP1.13, Cobb ERA 3.72/WHIP 1.45 since the break
The bullpen has been just as impressive.
Fernando Rodney has baffled hitters all season long with a devastating changeup, and high 90s heaters.
J.P. Howell hasn’t given up a run in 20 appearances.
Wade Davis made the transition from starter to reliever look easy.
Joel Peralta suffered through a shaky start earlier this year, but has reestablished himself as the set up man for Rodney.
The highest ERA among Rodney, Howell, Davis and Peralta since the All-Star break, is Peralta .079, the highest.
Kyle Farnsworth who was out most of the year has regained his velocity and has proven to be a very effective weapon for the Rays late in games.
Jake McGee is Tampa Bay’s power lefty and has been used in more higher leverage situations this year, and has been very effective.
How Bad is the Rays Hitting
The Rays are currently hitting .220 as a team. the American League average is .258.
They have 163 hits since the break. The American League averages 207.
They have scored 71 runs, the American League averages 105. The Rays runs per game average is 3,22.
They have driven in 67 RBI, the American League average is 101.
They have hit 15 home runs since the All-Star break while the average in the American League is 26.
And while these comparisons were done on American League averages, the Rays rank last in every major hitting category in all of Major League Baseball.
Since the break Jeff Keppinger has hit .321/.398/414, and frankly been the most reliable hitter in the Rays lineup on a day-to-day basis all year.
Ben Zobrist is the next everyday player at .256/.366/.397
Carlos Pena is hitting .179 since the break, and has struck out 28 times in 78 at-bats
Matt Joyce returned from the DL to .241 with 20 strikeouts in 58 at-bats
B.J. Upton .224 and leads the team in the second half with 10 RBI
Desmond Jennings .238, and has been moved around the lineup in order to help him find his stroke.
Jennings and Upton are tied for the team lead in home runs since the break with three each.
Ryan Roberts acquired in a trade prior to the deadline is 3 for 32 as a Ray.
The Rest of the Way
As the Rays proved last year, it would be foolish to count them out.
Evan Longoria will return from the DL and will help the offense. Longoria will serve as a DH initially.
The rest of the Rays lineup is where more consistent contributions have to be made.
Provided the pitching staff continues to do their part, and there is no reason to think they will not, Zobrist, Pena, Upton, Joyce, and Jennings have to produce, or the end of September will be the end of the road on the Rays 2012 season.