It looked like the Rays had buried themselves several times over the past seven weeks of the season. The month of August was tough, at 13-15. They’ve fallen from 2 games out of 1st place in mid-July, to 8 ½ games out heading into Wednesday afternoon’s game with the Twins.
And yet, they’ve scrambled back to a .500 record.. and just 2 games out of the second Wild Card slot.
Don’t get all excited, they’ve still got 5 teams they have to jump over to get to that second Wild Card. And even then, all it gets them is one playoff game, on the road.
But the playoffs, and it’s not impossible.. difficult, but not impossible.
What is going on with the Rays?
The biggest characteristic of this 2017 edition of the Rays, outside of the starting pitching, is they’re inconsistent. They’ve gone from one of the best hitting teams in the AL to one of the coldest in franchise history. All the players can’t seem to get hot at the same time. Actually, you don’t need all of them hot, just most of them.. and it just doesn’t happen consistently.
Before they rebuilt the bullpen around the trade deadline, that group was awful.. except for Alex Colome. Now, they’re better.. not great, just better.
And through all of this sometimes bad baseball, they’re still 2 games out of the playoffs with 22 games to play.
Through all the hills and valleys, the youngest manager in baseball.. 39-year-old Kevin Cash.. has kept the team together. Sure, he looked shaky earlier in the season, handling the bullpen, but that was when the ‘pen was made up mainly of guys who should have been pitching in the minors.
So, keep an eye on them, even while we head into football season. They’re fun to watch. They hit home runs, Kevin Kiermaier is back and hitting very well, Adainy Hechavarria has been an excellent addition at SS, and the bullpen has stabilized. The Rays just could make the playoffs.