Amid all of the injuries and covid cases across the league, the Rays have stayed strong due to their incredible depth. They have utilized a whole cast of characters this season and it’s led to a very impressive 28-15 record thus far. Tampa Bay has always had the “next man up” mentality”, but I think they’re taking it to another level this year and it’s fun to watch.
To start on the offensive side of the ball, we’ve seen Kevin Cash build a couple of platoons for matchups against lefty and righty pitchers. Choi, Wendle, and Kiermaier primarily hit against right-handed starting pitchers, while Margot, Brosseau, and Diaz start against a left-handed pitcher. For most teams this strategy wouldn’t work out too well because of the division of talent, but the Rays roster is built for these kind of plans because of the diverse skill sets of each player. We’ve seen a few new faces recently as well with Randy Arozarena jumping onto the scene in a big way. Nate Lowe also got called up after Yandy Diaz’s recent injury. The line keeps moving for the Rays offense.
The pitching has had the most struggles with injuries as practically the entire bullpen is sidelined for the rest of the season. New additions such as Ryan Thompson and Aaron Slegers have held their own in the pen and kept the Rays in many ballgames. Another huge call-up this season was starting pitcher, Josh Fleming. Fleming replaced Charlie Morton went we was placed on the 10-day IL and he’s pitched phenomenally. He is currently 3-0 with a 3.52 ERA in 3 career MLB starts. The great confidence that the Rays coaching staff and players give these guys is the reason they are able to fight through adversity and remain atop the division late in the season.