Red Sox: A revised look at AL East division
By Rick McNair
TAMPA BAY RAYS
The Rays are opposite of their counterparts in the AL East since you think pitching and not hitting first with Tampa. This should be no exception for 2017. With the Rays you never expect it to be easy and for AL East foes every game with the Rays is a “trap game.” Pitching will do that.
Chris Archer will again be the ace of their staff and may actually end up with a plus .500 record if he gets some reasonable run support. No one else approaches Archer among the starters, but they are all quite capable and would certainly draw interest if tossed out in trade scenarios.
My personal favorite is Blake Snell – a young lefty who walks far too many, but may soon develop into a solid number two starter. The bullpen for the Rays always seems in transition, but invariably does the job. I like Jumbo Diaz simply because he is far larger than El Guapo – Rich Garces of the Red Sox a few years back.
The Rays actually were leading the AL in hitting for a few weeks – the old adage about a blind squirrel applies. The lineup has Evan Longoria and a support group that certainly is far from the rest of the division. The hitting over the long haul will cause a lot of frustrating losses.
Strength – Pitching and some solid defense.
Weakness – Being in the AL East
Chances – Anything above 75 wins will be a plus.