Beginning in spring training, the injury bug has repeatedly hit Tampa Bay's rotation. After years of marveling at the quality depth that the Rays had in their organization, it appears as if the never-ending cycle of quality arms the system was able to produce may be taking a break.
Everything that we've come to know about the Rays has been torn apart by stats like these:
- The rotation's 4.51 ERA ranks 11th in the American League and 25th in baseball
- The rotation's 1.37 WHIP ranks ninth in the American League and 22nd in baseball
- Opponents are hitting .271 against Tampa Bay starters, the ninth-highest BAA in baseball
In seasons past, none of those stats would have been something that we'd even consider to be a possibility in Tampa Bay.
But without Alex Cobb (left oblique strain), Jeremy Hellickson (right elbow surgery) and Matt Moore (Tommy John surgery), the Rays have been forced to turn to inexperienced youngsters like Jake Odorizzi (pictured), who has shown that he's not ready for prime-time, and over-the-hill veterans like Erik Bedard.
Even David Price, one of the premier arms in the game, has struggled this season. Of the 19 major league starters who have thrown at least 40 innings, Price ranks 18th in ERA (4.75), behind the likes of Dillon Gee, John Lackey and Jason Vargas.
Cobb and Hellickson will be back in the mix eventually, and the rotation should once again begin to get on a roll once they do. But until then, things will continue to be a bit dicey at Tropicana Field.