The Tampa Bay Rays Starting Pitching Is Not As Strong As It Was In 2012: They Miss James Shields!

The Tampa Bay Rays came into 2013 off of a great 2012 campaign. They finished third in the East but they did end the season with 90 wins. Doing so, they were expected to win the American League East this season. Picking up Wil Myers from the Royals for James Shields was a huge move for them. Was it a mistake now that we look back and the Rays pitching is falling apart without Shields' 200 innings.

The Tampa Bay Rays came into 2013 off of a great 2012 campaign. They finished third in the East but they did end the season with 90 wins. Doing so, they were expected to win the American League East this season. Picking up Wil Myers from the Royals for James Shields was a huge move for them. Was it a mistake now that we look back and the Rays pitching is falling apart without Shields’ 200 innings?  Tampa has many teams nipping at their heels for the 2nd Wild Card Spot in New York (2.5 Games back), Baltimore (3.0 Games Back), Cleveland (3.5 Games Back) and the Kansas City Royals are 4.5 Games Back.  They must correct their pitching for the final 3 weeks.

Ryan Ritchey (Featured Baseball Columnist): 

The Tampa Bay Rays rely on their pitching and defense more than any aspect of the game. Having great young pitchers is what they live by, and it has worked for their team.

But, it has been the complete opposite in 2013.

Injuries to multiple guys in the rotation has set them off track and now have to catch up to the Red Sox in the division. David Price and Matt Moore are the studs of their staff, but David Price struggled early and also went on the Disabled List along with Moore.

It is going to take a lot for them to win the division, but there is always the Wild Card, and when you are in the playoffs you never know what can happen.

Alex Cobb Hit In Head By Line Drive: Parental Guidance Advised!

David Price became a 20 game winner for the first time last season, and it won him the American League Cy Young Award. That is really hard to match, but early struggles and injuries has held him back in 2013. He is the leader of the Rays pitching staff and can turn it around in the last month of the season but he will need to do it quick if he wants this Rays team to make some noise in the playoffs.  Price took the loss in a game to the Angels last night, where he surrendered 6 Earned Runs.

David Price became a 20 game winner for the first time last season, and it won him the American League Cy Young Award. That is really hard to match, but early struggles and injuries has held him back in 2013. He is the leader of the Rays pitching staff and can turn it around in the last month of the season but he will need to do it quick if he wants this Rays team to make some noise in the playoffs. Price took the loss in a game to the Angels last night, where he surrendered 6 Earned Runs.

David Price has been the number one starter for the Rays for a few years now, but 2013 he has been far from the number one starter they got in the past. Coming off of a 20 win season and Cy Young Award, he started this season 1-4.

Not the start you want, but he now sits at 8-7 after the loss last night to the Angels.

His ERA sits at 3.51, which isn’t terrible but you want it a lot lower for the guy you rely on to go throw you 8 innings of two run baseball and get a big win.

Less than a month left in the season, Price should get the ball three more times before the one game playoff, if they make it that far.

There is still a lot of baseball left to play and anything can happen, so let’s hope David Price can turn it around and get back on track to end the season.

Matt Moore is in his second full season in the bigs and is having a really great season. I remember watching him in Spring Training this season and saying that he could have a good season if he stayed healthy.

Well he has had a great season but now is having some trouble staying healthy.

He  has recently come off the Disabled List from a sore throwing elbow. That is never good, but with rest he hopes everything went back to normal.

He has been the ace of this staff in 2013, going 15-3 with a 3.27 ERA. You can’t ask much more out of a guy in his sophomore season.

Moore is going to have to be the pitcher he was to start the season, now if the Rays want to have a chance at the division what so ever.

Roberto Hernandez aka Fausto Carmona has gotten a lot of starts because of different injuries. This isn’t a good thing for the Rays as he hasn’t filled in the way you would want him too.

He is 6-13 in 24 starts for the Rays this season. He has given up 23 homers and sits with a negative Wins Above Replacement. He is going to need less starts for now on with Moore back off the DL.

For the record, the Rays should not be that surprised at Carmona’s record, since 2007, he has a record of 38 – 64, with an ERA around 5.  If the team missed the playoffs, or doesn’t win the division, it could be held directly on this decision

Jeremy Hellickson is having his worst season in the majors. He has an ERA over 5 and has just been everywhere. When he is on the mound in 2013 you aren't sure what you are going to get. You could get eight innings or two, the Rays are hoping for eight down the stretch. " eremy Hellickson is having his worst season in the majors. He has an ERA over 5 and has just been everywhere. When he is on the mound in 2013 you aren't sure what you are going to get. You could get eight innings or two, the Rays are hoping for eight down the stretch.  Hellickson threw better in his 1st game back after a scheduled break.

Jeremy Hellickson is having his worst season in the majors. He has an ERA over 5 and has just been everywhere. When he is on the mound in 2013 you aren’t sure what you are going to get. You could get eight innings or two, the Rays are hoping for eight down the stretch. Hellickson threw better in his 1st game back after a scheduled break.

The other big name having an up and down year is Jeremy Hellickson.

The 2011 Rookie of the Year is having a roller coaster season on the mound. He can go out on the mound one day and throw eight innings of two run baseball, and then come out for his next start and give up eight runs in two innings.

It’s funny how the game of baseball works, but you can always fix the issue with consistency and better mechanics. His mechanics have been out of wack this season and it has cost him.

Rays fans are hoping he figures it out for the playoffs and beyond, as he is yet another young arm that can do big things for this Rays pitching staff.

Everyone should remember Alex Cobb getting hit in the head with a line drive off the bat of Eric Hosmer. If you haven’t seen it, watch the video I posted above to see the live feed. It wasn’t a pretty sight, but lucky for Cobb he only had a concussion.

He has since come off the DL and been very good for the Rays. He has started four games and in all four has given up two runs or less. The bad thing about that is he is 2-2 in those starts.

The Rays offense has had trouble scoring runs and it has put more pressure on this pitching staff.

In three of the four he pitched against teams going after a playoff spot just like the Rays are. You can’t ask much more from him as he has been the second best pitcher on their staff in 2013.

A huge loss for the Rays this season has been Jeff Niemann. Niemann had season ending shoulder surgery in April to repair his labrum and rotator cuff.

He blames it on the move to the bullpen, but none the less the Rays are missing him in 2013. Don’t ya think they would rather have him than Roberto Hernandez? I believe so.

Niemann in 2012 was in the bullpen, but the three seasons before that, he won at least 10 games a season. He could have been a huge asset to this Rays pitching staff if it wasn’t for the injury.

Chris Archer is a great young pitcher just up from their AAA team the Durham Bulls. Him and Wil Meyers have been great sparks to this club. In my opinion they were called up a little too late, will that cost the Rays in the end?

Chris Archer is a great young pitcher just up from their AAA team the Durham Bulls. Him and Wil Meyers have been great sparks to this club. In my opinion they were called up a little too late, will that cost the Rays in the end?

Chris Archer didn’t have the start he was hoping for as he started his major league career 1-3 but he got better as he got more comfortable in the big leagues.

From June 23-July 27 Archer won seven consecutive starts – and was on top of the world. He was talked about as possibly the Rookie of the Year in the American League.

Since July 27, Archer has been no more than decent on the mound. He has given up at least four runs, in half of his starts since then. It is all about consistency in baseball and that is what Archer has to learn.

Yes, he was on top of the world but he has to remember he has to stay even keel the entire season to have a great season.

The Rays may have waited a little too long to call him up, as he could have three more starts if called up after the 11 day window of arbitration. Those three starts could have been three wins for the Rays and that much closer in the division race.

With the mentioning of Wil Myers, I have to talk about James Shields. Shields who was traded for Myers this past winter has pitched well for the Royals. I’m sure Rays fans think it is an even trade at a glance, but what about under a microscope?

The Rays are missing Shields’ 200 innings. With multiple injuries and very young arms pitching big games, I’m sure they would love to have Shields back. He is a guy you put on the mound and know what you are going to get from him.

In seven seasons for the Rays, Shields won 87 games and had an ERA just under four. Yes, his career started out a little bumpy but the last two seasons with the Rays were tremendous.

You can’t predict injuries and the Rays front office thought they had enough pitching in the system for 2013, but if they could go back I believe they would have kept James Shields.

This should bring back great memories to Rays fans. James  Shields, Mr. 200 innings, was the guy for them in 2011. He threw a league leading four shutouts as the Rays took first in the American League East. He is now a Royal in exchange for Wil  Myers. Who would you rather have?

This should bring back great memories to Rays fans. James Shields, Mr. 200 innings, was the guy for them in 2011. He threw a league leading four shutouts as the Rays took first in the American League East. He is now a Royal in exchange for Wil Myers. Who would you rather have in 2013?  While Wil Myers has been great, the Rays did the fans an injustice by not calling he or Chris Archer up soon enough.  Meanwhile, Shields has been exactly what the Rays have lacked.  As time goes by, the deal may even turn in Tampa Bay’s favor outright, but one has to wonder if the trade costs them dearly this campaign.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners ***

A big thank-you goes out to Our ‘Featured Baseball Columnist‘ Ryan Ritchey for preparing today’s featured article.  Ryan is a Baseball Writer for MLB reports. He is a sophomore at Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky.

Ryan is a huge fan of Barry Larkin and Brandon Phillips  He has been a baseball fan his whole life and has been writing about baseball since his freshman year of High School.

You can reach Ryan on Twitter  

a ryan ritchey

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Posted on September 6, 2013, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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