Monday, July 27, 2009

For starters, Rays starters are shaky

Well, that's not exactly the way to make a run at the division leaders.

Yankees starter A.J. Burnett was on, and Rays starter James Shields was not Monday as the first-place Yankees thumped the Rays 11-4 at Tropicana Field.

I guess we can blame some of Shields' lack of success to the embarrassing lack of run support by his offense - 3.63 runs per game, the third-lowest support in the the AL.

Still Shields has a 5.21 ERA in July, and that's not going to win you many games.

The Rays are now 7.5 games out of first place (five behind the Red Sox in thew Wild Card), and while this is no time to press the panic button, it should be cause for alarm.

The starting pitching is just not getting it done.

Five of their six wins since the All-Star Break have come with late-inning rallies. The other came in extra innings.

Shields has not won in seven starts.

Scott Kazmir, who starts Tuesday against the Yankees, has not won in seven starts.

That's not exactly what you want from the top-two pitches in the rotation.

Right now, the only starter that instills any confidence in the Rays fan base is fifth starter Jeff Niemann, who has a team-high nine wins.

Does anyone still believe the Rays can make a run at another postseason berth?

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