A.L. East Review: Blue Jays pick up ground while Rays get dealt a tough hand

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Apr 29, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Drew Smyly (33) reacts after giving up a home run against the New York Yankees during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

  • Tampa Bay Rays
  • Overall Record: 17-14
  • Last Seven: 4-3

It has been amazing thus far how the Tampa Bay Rays have exceeded expectations this season. For a team that was facing a tough couple of months to start the year, Tampa has come out swinging and currently sits just two games out of first place.

However, a lot of that could have been the push to get themselves to the point where their pitching staff was fully healthy again. With Alex Cobb, Jake McGee, and Matt Moore all on the disabled list for the first few months, the team just wanted to tread water until they were at full strength.  That’s led to players like Jake Odorizzi, Nate Karns, and Brad Boxberger stepping up to fill holes.

Unfortunately, the Rays were dealt a pair of big blows this past week. Cobb, who was shut-down from his rehab work, will now undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery and will not return until May 2016. Meanwhile Drew Smyly, who made just 3 starts for the Rays this season, will also see his season end due to a labrum tear in his pitching shoulder.

That’s a lot to overcome for a Rays pitching staff that was already short-handed. In a division where pitching is going to separate the top dogs from the also-rans, that may be a tough handicap to overcome for Tampa Bay as we get into the dog days of summer.

Next: Things looking up North of the Border