AL East Round Up: Report Card Edition: Pitching

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Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays are starting to climb the standings slowly after a rough start to the year. It seems everyone expects them to be fighting for the division title. Early on, it didn’t look like that was going to happen. In fairness, the Rays are no different than any other team in the East in that regard. However, now that the season is a month old, this is where teams will separate themselves. Somehow, the Rays will be on the good end of this separation. They may sit in 4th now, but that won’t last. Their defense is solid and their offense finds ways to compete.

Starting Pitching: C+
David Price is once again being David Price. He’s off to a 3-1 start. His ERA is a not so sexy 4.04 though. He’s got 40 K to 4 BB. While he’s striking out lots, he is also giving up more hits than the Rays would like: 8.8/ 9 innings and an ugly 1.5 HR/ 9 innings. The lone bright spot in this rotation is finding a way to win, but is not exactly unhittable. The rest of the rotation is not fairing any better. The only way they are doing better is by giving up fewer bombs. The Rays rotation numbers are not nearly Rays-like. We’ve come to expect this to be the calling card of their team. They’ve combined for a WHIP of 1.707. YIKES! They are also giving up an average of 11.26 hits per 9 innings. Like every other team, the Rays starters are averaging just under 6 innings per start. Taking that into account, these numbers are even uglier than the per 9 inning average. As well, for what seems like the first time, the Rays rotation has been hit by injury. Matt Moore and Alex Cobb have suffered injuries this season. And, Jeremy Hellickson is still attempting to come back from his. For the first time, it seems like the Tampa Bay Rays starters are actually human.

Bullpen: B+
The Rays have had to use their bullpen to the tune of 92 1/3 innings, including 3 starts from Cesar Ramos. In total, the Rays have used 12 different relievers. They’ve inherited a total of 27 runners and only 9 have scored. That’s pretty solid. The bullpen has only lost 4 games for the Rays and blown 1 save. It is hard to imagine a bullpen can keep this up for an entire season. But if Heath Bell (8.25), Grant Balfour(6.10) and Josh Lueke (4.05) can bring their ERA down to Joel Peralta (2.08) territory, the Rays will be laughing. Maybe even laughing all the way to top spot.