In case you haven’t noticed, the Tampa Bay Rays have been suffering with their offense through the first eleven games of the 2013 season. Some may be surprised, while others may not. Although it still may be too early in the season to say that this is going to be a long-term problem, it may lead one to believe that the team should at least consider their options with hitting coach, Derek Shelton who has been with the club since 2009. This past December the Rays promoted Jamie Nelson to assist Shelton, and to work with the teams’ catchers, after numerous articles had been posted on the internet calling for Shelton’s termination (This also includes the negative social media chatter among fans–and Facebook groups supporting the decision to fire Shelton).
Out of the fifteen teams that now occupy the American League, the Rays find themselves LAST in both hits and runs scored. In 2012, the team was ranked 11th (out of 14) for runs, and 13th in hits. 2011 saw the team rank 8th in runs and 13th in hits. In 2010, when the team won the American League East Championship, the team was ranked 3rd in runs and 13th in hits. 2009 featured the team in 5th place for runs and 11th in hits. The team went to the World Series in 2008 while placing 9th in runs and 13th in hits.
For starters, let’s take a look at the first eleven games and the stats for RISP/LOB.
Game 1 (BAL) Team RISP: 0-for-1, Team LOB: 2 – (L) 7-4
Game 2 (BAL) Team RISP: 4-for-7, Team LOB: 3 – (W) 8-7
Game 3 (BAL) Team RISP: 3-for-7, Team LOB: 4 – (L) 6-3
Game 4 (CLE) Team RISP: 2-for-8, Team LOB: 3 – (W) 4-0
Game 5 (CLE) Team RISP: 3-for-14, Team LOB: 12 – (W) 6-0
Game 6 (CLE) Team RISP: 0-for-3, Team LOB: 8 – (L) 13-0
Game 7 (TEX) Team RISP: 2-for-12, Team LOB: 8 – (L) 5-4
Game 8 (TEX) Team RISP: 0-for-6, Team LOB: 5 – (L) 6-1
Game 9 (TEX) Team RISP: 1-for-7, Team LOB: 7 – (W) 2-0
Game 10 (BOS) Team RISP: 0-for-11, Team LOB: 7 – (L) 2-1
Game 11 (BOS) Team RISP: 0-for-6, Team LOB: 5 – (L) 5-0
Clay Buchholz nearly pitched a no-hitter while shutting the Rays out in their 11th game of the season, 5-0. Kelly Johnson broke up Buchholz’s bid for history with a broken bat single in the 8th. Let’s also consider the fact that Boston came close to a perfect game–which John Lester tossed 6 innings of straight zeros against the Rays–and then the bullpen combined for a near no-hitter during Spring Training in Fort Myers on March 17th. The no-no was overturned in the 9th inning by Jason Bourgeois who reached base off of a single from Marco Duarte, Boston’s fourth pitcher of the day.
Social media has been blowing up with fans calling for top prospect Wil Myers to be summoned to the big leagues to help boost the team’s offense. Myers is currently hitting .294 up in Durham with a .395 OBP.
In 2010, the Ray’s adopted the “GTMI” mantra. GTMI stands for Get The Man In and is used by fans, coaches, and players alike as a means of encouragement to score runs.
Do you believe the Rays’ offensive woes are a cause for concern this early in the season? What should be done with Shelton and Nelson? Do you think Myers is the key to boosting Tampa Bay’s offense?