The frustration on B.J. Upton's face says it all: the Rays bats haven't had any life in them for the past few games and, as a result, lost the series-decider to the Mariners this afternoon. After last night's loss in which the Rays' only run was courtesy of an extremely uncharacteristic error by Ichiro, the team continued their struggle to produce runs. A team [the Rays] that is ranked in the bottom five in the league in numerous offensive categories hasn't really seemed to make any adjusments at the plate; their is essentially no consistency from any hitter (apart from Keppinger lately) whatsoever, and it's really frustrating for the pitching staff on the team.
This problem does not bode well for our starters going forward in the season, and it really didn't help Matt Moore today, who entered the game with a 6-6 record and a relatively respectable ERA of 4.37. Despite allowing RBI doubles in the first and second innings, Moore quickly settled down, pitching six scoreless innings and keeping the Rays within one run after Matt Joyce's RBI single in the first. Obviously, the offense didn't rise to the occasion, and a very fine start by Moore was wasted, dropping him to a 6-7 record on the season. You cannot put all the blame on him though, as giving up 2 runs and pitching 8 innings is still considered a "Quality Start" in the eyes of statisticians.
An offense that is struggling is something to be concerned about, and is especially disconcerting given the fact that the Rays are in the AL East, and the Yankees and Red Sox have woken up; both are playing to their potential and exceeding expectations at this point. As has been the case this entire season, the Rays need to look to acquire a bat that can be a backup in case Evan Longoria goes down again if/when he comes back from this nagging injury.
Rumors have been abuzz, most of them with no merit or credibility to them, about the Rays trading one-or-more of their surplus pitching prospects to acquire a run-producing bat with some power behind it. Alfonso Soriano's name has surfaced, but with a contract as backloaded as his, coupled with the fact that the Rays are the epitome of a small-market team, the Cubs would literally have to eat about 90% of Soriano's remaining contract for the deal to even be considered. Whatever the case may be, a trade for a bat is inevitable at this point, because buying a player who scores runs means you're buying a player who gets the wins. Wins=filled seats=no possibility of the Rays relocating.
Notables from today's game:
M. Moore(TAM): (L, 6-7) 8 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 7 K
M. Joyce(TAM): 2-4, RBI