AL East Round Up: A Quick Look at the Numbers

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Jun 12, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays center fielder

Mikie Mahtook

(27) is congratulated by second baseman

Logan Forsythe

(11) after he scored during the third inning against the Chicago White Sox at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tamp Bay Rays

Heading in to the 2015 season, many believed that is this team stood a chance to win the division, it was going to have to rely on pitching and small ball. In fact, many had written them off as a mere add on to the division. “Oh, and don’t forget about the Rays”. As if their past years’ success would somehow have an impact on this season. Well, something has. Because here they sit tied for the lead in the AL East. You may be able to make the argument that the fact that they are tied for 1st place points to how weak the division is. But, let’s take a look at these “pesky” Rays.

The Rays sit in 13th place in the AL with 234 runs scored. They’re 10th in OBP at .306 and 13th in average at .241. IT would appear that everyone was right when they said that the Rays do not have a potent offense. OK, it’s true. But, they are scoring runs. They are winning some games, which means they are scoring more runs than their opponents at least some of the time.

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Many would have said that Evan Longoria is the leader of this offense and they’re right. He’s hitting .266/.346/.411 with 6 HR and 28 RBI. But, he’s not the biggest story here. No, that honor belongs to Logan Forsythe. When the Rays sent Ben Zobrist to the Athletics, it wasn’t clear how they’d replace him. But, Forsythe has stepped up. He’s hitting .264/.347/.434. His 7 home runs have him 2nd on the team as do his 28 RBI. We should also point out the performance of rookie Steven Souza Jr. He leads the club with 12 HR and 29RBI. We’ve seen him hit a couple monster bombs against the Blue Jays. While his power is there, his average leaves wanting at .220.

With the offense the Rays have, they’re going to need to pitch well so they have a chance to score more runs than their opponents. But, injuries have struck this club for the second year in a row. They’ve had starts from 8 different guys. Alex Cobb is not one of them. Drew Smyly made just 3 starts. Really, the only starter the Rays can rely on is Chris Archer. He’s leading the way with a 7-4 record and has been on fire of late. His ERA sits at 2.00 thank sin part to 113 strike outs.

But, if it were all bad news for the pitching staff, the Rays should be doing much worse. And, they’re not. Instead, what is happening is their staff is keeping the team in games. Their 3.33 ERA is good for first in the AL as is their opponents batting average of .231. Oh, and they’re second with 535 strike outs. They’ve allowed the 2nd fewest earned runs with 208.

So, the question remains just how far the pitching staff can carry this offense in an offense minded division.

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