The Tampa Bay Rays (19-26) are coming off a road trip out west in which they went 3-4. Tampa Bay has gone 8-10 this month and need to step it up come June. The Rays can't sit around in last place in the American League East much longer. Not every team is going to lose that often in the AL East. Tampa Bay dropped three out of four games against the Los Angeles Angels (24-19) last weekend but was able to take two out of three games against the Seattle Mariners (21-22). June has got to be the month the Rays get hot and go on a win streak. Tampa Bay has 18 games at Tropicana Field in June and this has to be the time to start playing Rays baseball. The Rays really need to go on a tear to change things around in the AL East. The Rays are only five games back but need a spark and Alex Cobb returning could be that spark. Tampa Bay spent a ton of money this offseason and they can't let this season slip away. If moves have to be made all Rays' fans know Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon will manage this situation correctly. If the Rays can't turn it around by the All Star break then David Price may be on his way out. All Rays' fans know we can get more trade value for David Price now then we would be able to get later down the road.
The Rays will now begin a six-game homestand at Tropicana Field. The Rays will welcome in the Oakland Athletics (28-16) on Tuesday and then take on the Boston Red Sox (20-23) this following weekend. It all starts with the starting pitching staff for Tampa Bay. The Rays are 14-5 when their starter finishes the sixth inning. Tampa Bay is 5-21 when the starter doesn't finish the sixth inning. Enough said. Erik Bedard and Jake Odorizzi are starting to make the turn as they both were struggling a few weeks ago. The good news for Rays' fans is Alex Cobb could be back on the hill as soon as Thursday. Jeremy Hellickson is aiming for a return soon as well. The question remains which pitcher will be bumped down when Cobb returns on Thursday to face the Oakland Athletics but it looks like it could be Cesar Ramos heading back to the bullpen. Ben Zobrist just went to the DL last week so Sean Rodriguez and Logan Forsythe will get more playing time. Zobrist expects to be back as soon as possible as he dislocated his thumb sliding into second base last week.
The bullpen has been through some tough stretches as they blew multiple leads on the most recent road trip. Grant Balfour needs to be more aggressive with his fastball as he has already blown two save opportunities. Wil Myers, Ryan Hannigan, James Loney and Evan Longoria are leading the team in RBI's. Logan Forsythe and Jose Molina have definitely been very disappointing at the plate. The Rays simply need more production out of them. The Rays are so inconsistent at the plate recently. The Rays should look to be more aggressive and swing at the first pitch more often because many of them tend to watch their best pitch go right by. Jake Odorizzi (2-3, 4.89) will get the nod on Tuesday against the Athletics followed by Erik Bedard (2-1, 2.78) on Wednesday. Rays' fans know this team has a run in them but this run needs to start as soon as possible. It won't get any easier for the Rays because tomorrow Oakland comes in town with the most wins in the American League. Brandon Gomes was sent down on Monday as Kevin Kiermaier will remain with the team.