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Rays Rewind: Second Half Woes Continue

Jacob Faria - Sunday July 30th - Photo By Skip Milos | Tampa Bay Rays

Coming off a sweep at home, Tampa Bay was hoping to regain their momentum from the first half. Brett Gardner single-handedly kept those hopes at bay for at least another week.

The second half is not going the way the Rays were hoping it would.

After a successful California road trip, Tampa Bay returned home and were swept by the Rangers in a three game series. With the sweep, the Rays were riding a four-game losing streak as they began the last full week in July. With seven games in seven days against A.L. East division foes on the horizon, they Rays were hoping to go back to pre-All-Star break form.

To jump-start the week, the Baltimore Orioles came to town for a three-game series.


Rays Up-

Jacob Faria had the longest outing of his major league career so far, pitching 7.1 innings on Tuesday and moving to an impressive 5-1 record with the win. Faria was boosted by a massive three-run home run by Tim Beckham that ultimately was the deciding factor in the game.

Alex Cobb pitched a 7.0 inning during the afternoon Wednesday game, allowing only one run. For Cobb, it was the 10th time he has gone 7.0+ innings this year, something the Rays need from more of their starting pitchers.

Rays Down-

The Rays were shut out Monday, giving them a season-high five game losing streak. Blake Snell suffered another loss, moving to 0-6 this year, after 13 starts. Not all of his losses have been entirely on his shoulders. His lost against Baltimore came as a shut-out. Cannot fault him entirely if he has zero run support behind him.

Kevin Gausman continues to be dominant against Tampa Bay this year. In his two starts against the Rays in 2017, he has pitched 13.0 shut out innings, allowing just seven hits and five walks, with 17 strikeouts. Both of those games according under the dome at Tropicana Field in July.

The Rays were sat down on strikes 25 times over the series, including 10+ in two of the three games. They are currently second in the majors in team strikeouts, behind the National League leading Milwaukee Brewers.

The Takeaway?

The Rays lost Monday, but were able to win the final two games to win the series, taking them back to their pre-Texas ways. The win gave the team momentum as they traveled to face the dreaded Yankees in the Bronx.


Since the All-Star break, the Yankees have moved from third to first place in the division, as both Boston and Tampa Bay have had some early second half struggles.

Rays Up-

Lucas Duda, acquired from the Met this week, started his tenure with Tampa Bay in a big way. In each of his first two games in the new uniform, Duda hit home runs. Friday, his 18th homer was the only run of the game for the Rays. But his 19th, in the eighth inning on Saturday, tied the ballgame and gave the Rays a glimmer of hope.

Three of the Rays four runs Saturday came off of solo home runs, as Peter Bourjos hit his fifth, Steven Souza Jr. hit his 22nd. and as mentioned above, Duda’s 19th. All together, the Rays hit six home runs during the four game series.

The Rays practically silenced slugger Aaron Judge, who went 2-for-16 with eight strikeouts, with only one home run. Saturday and Sunday, Rays pitchers combined to strikeout out Judge five times, as he went 0-for-7 with two walks at the plate.

The Rays avoided the sweep with a win Sunday. Faria, who turned 24 Sunday, worked just 4.0+ innings, the shortest outing of his career thus far. All together, six Rays pitchers worked together to get the win, including all of the new acquisitions. Steve Cishek took the win for his 1.2 innings of relief work.  Alex Colome collected his league leading 30th safe of the season.

Rays Down-

The Rays suffered not one, but two walk-off losses off the bat of Brett Gardner. On Thursday, in extra innings, Gardner hit a walk-off home run to take the first game of the series. On Saturday, after Brad Boxberger managed to load the bases with nobody out, Gardner again walked it off. The second time was only a single, but a single that gave the Yankees their sixth straight win.

Aroldis Chapman proved to be too much for the Rays, as he collected the wins in both walk-off games. Saturday, Chapman bested Evan Longoria when he threw four straight pitches that averaged 103 MPH.

Masahiro Tanaka owned the Rays Friday, retiring the first 17 Tampa Bay batters he faced before allowing the first hit. When it was over, the Rays ended the game with 15 strikeouts…and only two hits.

The strikeout woes continue, as the Rays were sat down 54 times over the series, giving them 1029 on the season with 57 games remaining.

The Takeaway?

The Rays avoided being swept (barely), but they did drop three games to the division leading Yankees. The Rays now sit at 54-52, four games back of New York. With Kansas City streaking lately, Tampa Bay is now 2.5 games behind them for the second wild card spot. But there is still plenty of baseball left to play, and as we know from the past, nothing is for sure until game 162.

Just ask the 2012 Boston Red Sox, who went from first place to last in September.


Hellos…and Goodbyes

With the final week in July, comes big trades all across Major League Baseball as the trade deadline looms on the 31st. The Rays took part in some big ways.

The week started with the acquisition of Sergio Romo from the Dodgers, and the releasing of Rickie Weeks Jr. Duda came over from the Mets in exchange for Drew Smith, and traded Casey Gillaspie to the White Sox for Dan Jennings, much needed bullpen help. The big goodbye for Tampa Bay came when they sent Erasmo Ramirez to Seattle for Steve Cishek.

Tampa Bay said goodbye to Ramirez in the best possible way…

Adam Kolarek and Austin Pruitt swapped places as Kolarek was sent down and Pruitt was recalled from triple-A Durham. Diego Moreno was designated for assignment and ended up being claimed on waivers by Cleveland. Shane Peterson was also DFA’d this week.

Injury Update

Big news for the Rays, as two-time defending Gold Glove winner Kevin Kiermaier was sent to Charlotte to begin a rehab assignment. Kiermaier has been out since fracturing his hip on an awkward slide back on June 8th.  Daniel Robertson joins Kiermaier with the Stone Crabs as he rehabs from neck spasms.

Up Next

The Rays end July and begin August with four games in Houston against the A.L. West leading Astros. After that, a three game interleague series against the N.L. Central leading Milwaukee Brewers. A tough week indeed.

Continue to follow the @TheScrumSports on twitter for up-to-date trade news as the deadline approaches Monday afternoon.

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