By Ken DeLaat
“No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference.”-Tommy Lasorda
Tampa Bay is off to a great start. They’re getting a lot of hype and are blasting past most teams. In fact their record is a startling 22-5 going into Saturday’s games.
To match the First 40 record-setting start of my beloved all-time favorite team the ‘84 Tigers, the Rays would simply need to win another 13 games in a row.
Not saying it's impossible but if any Tampa Bay folks would like to make a small wager on it…
Speaking of the Tigers, the present squad is an interesting study.
It would be easy to look at their record and discount the level of talent on the roster but there are a few bright spots and some definite lowlights as well.
Well you might be saying “What offense?”.
They have mostly been prime examples of failure to execute scoring opportunities with a dearth of clutch hitting and the paltry averages and OBP’s means there just aren’t that many opportunities to begin with. I like Vierling and McKinstry and Maton will hit better than he has thus far. Greene and Tork are young and have been given a pass thus far based on their potential but fans are losing patience to have that potential realized a bit more. Baez has begun to hit and even Baddoo whose breakout 2021 season failed to reboot in 22 has looked better.
For all the love I have for Miggy, his presence is virtually one less weapon in the arsenal these days but no way he will be leaving before season’s end. I mean, seriously, who is going to cut Miguel Cabrera? Everyone adores him, he’s in the middle of a farewell tour and will depart at season’s end as he awaits induction into the Hall of Fame. Anything they get from him will be a bonus but don’t kid yourself, if he carried the stats he has been putting up for a few years now as a 30 year old instead of a 40 year old with a history of being who Miguel Cabrera was, he’d have been cut a long time ago.
Schoop looks as overwhelmed and bewildered as he was last season but he’s owed $7.5 million, the team isn’t likely to be competing for a playoff spot and maybe the thinking is that he could possibly be some help going forward… if he remembers how to hit. If he doesn’t at some point they will likely cut their losses and let him go.
The bullpen is a work in progress but there are some nice young arms there and Mize and Skubal might help the starting squad if they ever get (and stay) healthy. Lorenzo has to be better than he’s shown, one would hope, but there hasn’t been much evidence of that thus far. Rodriguez is likely the ace and Boyd will fare fairly well but there are a lot of high ERA’s right now and they don’t have the luxury of seeing the offense put up many crooked numbers on any given night.
My hunch is a few more arrivals from Toledo will be coming on board to see what they can do and maybe a thrower or two will come off the DL and perform as we have hoped they can.
However, the bottom line, as said before, is that they likely aren’t going anywhere barring more things falling in place than even the most optimistic among us rabid Tiger fans can imagine.
But they will be better in May and June than they were in April and they should cause a lot of contending teams some trouble throughout the summer.
As for the Rays? Of their sparkling 22 wins only 2 have come against teams with a winning record. Those same teams accounted for 4 of their 5 losses. So, after finishing April with 2 more against the withering White Sox they face all winning teams throughout May.
Granted they are off to a good start.
But they ain’t the 84 Tigers. Not by a long shot.
5/3/2023 05:39:57 pm
Very nice Ken especially for those of a certain age who recall the summer of 1984.
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