Injuries & Sluggish Offense Cap Gloomy Week
After losing two out of three to the Royals in Kansas City the Tampa Bay Rays rebounded to take two out of three from the Reds in Cincinnati to finish the week with a .500 record of 3-3 and in a 3-way tie with the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays for the best record in the AL East.
This week the Rays will complete their nine game in ten days three city road trip with a three game series against the Baltimore Orioles before returning home to take on the New York Yankees for four games to end the week.
During the first week of the season the Rays were filled with optimism and promise as the team was healthy and off the field the organization announced long-term contract extensions to Chris Archer and Yunel Escobar. The tone of this week was set by two big blows to the pitching staff.
The first came Monday in Kansas City when Matt Moore was forced to leave his start against the Royals after experiencing pain in his elbow during the fifth inning. His initial MRI was inconclusive and the Rays sent him to see Dr. James Andrews for a more comprehensive MRI. The results indicate a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow which is usually corrected via Tommy John surgery which would end Moore’s season
On Saturday afternoon Alex Cobb was brilliant in shutting down the Reds for 7 innings in the Rays 1-0 victory. He was removed after seven innings and 87-pitches and on Sunday morning we awoke to find out that he had an oblique strain and was placed on the disabled list. He flew back to Tampa on Sunday for a MRI which revealed the degree of the strain and that he will be out for four to six weeks.
In the short term the Rays will plug Erik Bedard into Cobb’s spot and Cesar Ramos into Moore’s spot in the rotation. Should one or both falter the Rays have options such as Nate Karns, Matt Andriese, Mike Montgomery, Enny Romero, and long-shot Merrill Kelly available at their Triple-A affiliate Durham Bulls.
Disable List: Jeremy Hellickson (elbow – expected back in June), Tim Beckham (knee – out for season), Alex Cobb (oblique strain – four to six weeks), Matt Moore (elbow – four to six weeks/potentially season ending), Juan Carlos Oviedo (elbow – rehabbing and expected back in the coming week).
As the season continues the different ways instant replay can affect a game will reveal itself on a daily basis. This week the Rays were involved in one of the more controversial areas around the majors and that is the interpretation of the transfer rule. Ben Zobrist fielded a throw from shortstop Yunel Escobar had possession of the ball but dropped it when transferring it to his throwing hand – the runner at second was called safe – and the play upheld by instant replay. The same thing happened in Texas and later in Anaheim and Cleveland.
Later in the week with David Price looking for a complete game shutout and Grant Balfour was warming up in the bullpen just in case. Price’s pitch to Brandon Phillips bounced inside but clearly did not hit him but this didn’t stop Phillips from trying to sell it. He hobbled around and his manager came out and requested a replay review. This delay forced David Price to wait on the mound and Grant Balfour to wait in the pen. After the call was upheld Price struck out Phillips but gave up a home run to Joey Votto and Grant Balfour looked out of sorts walking the bases loaded when he came in the game.
The Rays played six games during the week and in five of the six games they scored three runs or less. The two games that they scored more than two runs were both losses (7-3 to Royals and 14-4 to Reds). With Alex Cobb and Matt Moore out of the rotation the Rays offense is going to have to pick up the slack and provide the replacement arms with more runs over the coming weeks or it is going to be a long summer in the Tampa Bay area.
Rays Batting Last Week:
Monday April 7, 2014: Rays Fall To Royals 4-2, Lose Matt Moore To Injury
Tuesday April 8, 2014: Chris Archer and Yordano Ventura Put On A Show, Rays Win 1-0
Wednesday, April 9, 2014: Jake Odorizzi Runs Into Trouble- Rays Fall 7-3
Friday, April 11, 2014: David Price Is Right As Rays Win 2-1
Saturday, April 12, 2014: Despite Injury Alex Cobb Shuts Down Reds 1-0
Sunday, April 13, 2014: Cesar Ramos & Rays Pen Battered In 14-4 Loss