The Tampa Bay Rays, who were the best team in Major League Baseball (MLB) earlier this season, are falling apart at the seams.
Tampa Bay is on the brink of collapse after losing a 4-3 home game to the Baltimore Orioles today (Nov. 21) local time, dropping their season record to 60-40 (.600 winning percentage).
They’ve also fallen from the American League (AL) overall winning percentage lead they’ve held since the start of the season. Tampa Bay currently sits in second place in the AL, one game behind Baltimore.
The problem is that the decline has been too steep. Tampa Bay has won just three games during its 12 losses this month, tied for the fewest wins among the league’s 30 teams.
It’s all the more unusual because Tampa Bay got off to one of the strongest starts in MLB history at 30-9, including a 13-game winning streak to open the season, the longest such streak in MLB since 1900.
Tampa Bay’s recent struggles stem from a collapse in the pitching staff. A series of injuries have knocked several starters out of the rotation.
Jeffrey Springs (30) had Tommy John surgery on his elbow in April, ending his season, and Drew Rasmussen (27) was diagnosed with a right elbow flexor strain in May and moved to the 60-day IL (injured list).
Other members of the bullpen, including Josh Fleming (27) and Garrett Clevinger (29), were also lost to injury, leaving the pitching staff itself weak. To say the pitching staff has been devastated would be an understatement. 안전놀이터
In this situation, Tampa Bay must now play three more games in a row against a surging Baltimore team. If the worst happens and they drop all three games, they’re not even guaranteed an AL Wild Card ticket.
That’s because the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays are closing in on Tampa Bay by 4.5 games, and the fourth wild-card spot Boston Red Sox and fifth-place New York Yankees haven’t given up hope for fall baseball, so a turnaround is urgently needed.
There is hope, though.
With ace Shane McClanahan (26) back from the 15-day IL, past ace Tyler Glasnow (29) recently returned, and Zach Eflin (29) steadfastly holding down the rotation, we have a competitive 1-3 starters. If they can get up to the cycle of hitters who have been in decline en masse, they could turn things around.
With this season expected to be the best in franchise history, it will be interesting to see if Tampa Bay can rise above their current woes.