Tampa Bay coming back to earth

With Matsui setback, Bonds speculation grows
Find yourself at Yankee Stadium

Perhaps the best news of the month is the current seven-game slide of the Tampa Bay Rays. They looked unstoppable a month ago, but now seem to be regressing to the mean. That’s not to say they’re not a good team. They certainly are. And they’d be a lot better if Carl Crawford was hitting as he has in recent years. Given current indications, though, we could see the Rays drop off a bit in the second half, much to the delight of the Yankees.

The key to Tampa Bay’s second half is their home/road discrepancy. They currently hold a 36-14 record at home, and a 19-25 mark on the road. The significant part of that is the number of games they’ve played with each: 50 at home, and just 44 on the road. So they have 31 games left at home, and 37 on the road. If they continue to play sub-.500 ball away from the Trop and can’t keep up the torrid pace at home, they could quickly fall out of the Wild Card race.

Then again, this is an instance where past performance might not be the best indicator of future results. If Tampa Bay can get their overall road record back to .500, they could negate any kind of drop-off in play at home. Still, to know that they have more road games in the second half is a bit reassuring.

With Matsui setback, Bonds speculation grows
Find yourself at Yankee Stadium
  • Ivan

    Alot of there offensive core guys have not hit really. Crawford, Upton, Pena and etc have not hit that well this year. Nevertheless, they have been dominate at home.

    Which leads to another problem for the yanks, they are barely a .500 team at home. Boston and TB have been outstanding at home while the yanks have been average. On the not only TB have been bad on the road, so has boston who are worst (21-29). Yankees while not great are .500 on the road (23-23).

    If you compare TB’s #’s to the yanks #’s with pitching and O, they are pretty close (especially on the offensive side) which tells me that have been somewhat unlucky while TB have been somewhat lucky. Nevertheless, TB will hang around though especially with there pitching, but I think the yanks can overtake them becasue I have more confidence in the yankee main people hitting, than TB.

    • whozat

      The Yanks have not been unlucky at all. Their record is commensurate with their pythag. The Rays have been a bit, even after their big slide. The big Yankee hitters need to do their jobs, or this team is going nowhere. Do I have confidence that Abreu will start getting on base again more than I believe Carl Crawford will start hitting like he usually does? Not really. Will Robbie return to form? Dunno. Was Pena’s 2007 a fluke? Dunno. Which player will hit like he did last year from here on out? It could be either, there’s no reason to think it’ll be one over the other, really.

      • Ivan

        To be fair, Robbie’s LD% has is higher than last year, he has struckout less and his BABIP is .252. So he has been unlucky. Not to mention alot of worst case situations has happen (injuries, Jeter and Abreu being off offensively)

        Can Crawford turn it around, no question but he looks lost at the plate when the yanks last played him (and like Robbie, working counts and BB is not one of his strengths) and Pena had one hit in that series and overall has been a shell of himself from last year and before last season was in the minors.

        • whozat

          Yes, I know that it seems Robbie’s been unlucky, so there’s reason to think he’ll start getting some more hits. However, while he’s part of the problem, the bigger issues are a lack of OBP at the top of the lineup and a lack of hitting with RISP. Not only do Bobby and Jeter need to get back to form, but they need to make up for Damon being out. And Jason, Posada and ARod need to start cashing in runners. This team’s not going anywhere unless that starts happening.

          • Ivan

            No doubt. The yankee guys need to hit no question especially with RISP, and getting on base. Jeter, abreu need to step they game up and A-Rod, Giambi and Po need to bring em in, and Cano needs to keep improving (Cano is a huge hitter in the second half).

            The surprising thing is the OBP has been average at best. When was the last time that the Yankees are an average team OBP wise?

            Lets see what happens.

          • Count Zero

            Agreed — if Jeter and Abreu (and whoever is leading off in some cases) don’t get on base, we’re screwed. Especially with the bottom of the order being what it is at present.

  • TurnTwo

    this is why i want to see Cashman pull the trigger on something here. the team, as frustrating bad as theyve been, is still in this.

    • Steve A

      Totally agree with you TurnTwo. The team seems lifeless at times and even with all the young players being called up, they are lacking energy. With Jeter having an a down season, there is no table setter on this club.

      • whozat

        Well…until Damon went down, he was doing a great job of table setting. The problem was that Jeter would then hit into a double play, or at least fail to move him over. And then Bobby wouldn’t get on base either, and then ARod would probably end the inning. And if ARod managed to get on, Giambi wouldn’t cash anyone in either.

        And then in the next inning, Matsui would get on base only to have Molina, Robbie and Melky do nothing.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    Totally off topic, sorry.
    But Pat Venditte will be on First Take this hour.

  • Adam

    what is the world coming to? a blog post about celebrating a devil ray losing streak? i never thought i’d see the day.

  • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

    i was rooting for the NL last night. the Yanks dont rely on homefield to win this year. the AL winning will help Tampa and Boston (who suck on the road), not so much us.

    i still cant believe an exhibition games counts.