Well that was a fun stop in Kansas City, dropping two of three to the Royals was fun. Not. From Kansas City, our Rays make a west coast swing. Our first stop is in Oakland to meet the A's. From there we had to Seattle to face the Mariners who lost their 15th straight today.
Courtesy: LWY on Flickr
Courtesy: LWY on Flickr
In Oakland, expect to find very good pitching, but not so good Offense. Sound familiar? The A's are running 3rd in the American League West with 44 wins and 57 losses which is a .436 win percentage.
As a team offensively, they are 27th overall in batting average with .238. They are 28th in OBP with .306. They are also 28th in slugging percentage with .344. And they are 28th in runs with 356 runs as a team this year.
Pitching is an entirely different beast. 4th overall in ERA (3.29), 9th in quality starts (59), 11th in WHIP (1.28) and 7th in batting average against (.244).
The A's are coming off a road trip to Detriot and the Bronx where they went 2-3. More specifically they split thee two game series with the Tigers and dropped two out of three to the Yankees. They are 26-22 at home this year. Well at least one of us has a winning home record. Luckily for the Rays, we have a dominate road record and the west coast has been a bit kinder this year thus far.
The Rays will open up this leg of the 10-game road trip Monday night by sending Hellickson to the mound against Oakland's Moscoso. Moscoso is 3-5 with a 2.96 ERA this year. In this first game, I think the Rays need to come out strong and Hellboy needs to be the dominate pitcher he's capable of being. Hopefully our bats found their way to Oakland.
Tuesday, the Rays will send David Price to the mound. The A's will counter with McCarthy. McCarthy is 2-5 with a 3.74 ERA this year. Rays will have to just look for mistakes and capitalize, as always.
Wednesday is probably the best pitching match-up of this four game stop in Oakland. Rays will send "Complete Game" James to the mound against Oakland's Cahill who is 8-9 with a 3.77 ERA. I expect this to be what I'll call a "Pitchers Duel Lite", hard for hits to come by until later in the game and then the game will be blown wide open. This needs to be in the Rays favor and it wouldn't hurt to have a complete game from Shields to give the bullpen a break before we head to Seattle where our bullpen was absolutely owned earlier this year. It's the only time I've actually really hated our bullpen this year.
In Thursday's matinee finale, the Rays will send Davis to the mound. Before I get to Oakland's pitcher let me say something about Davis. I personally didn't set the bar very high for him Friday against Kansas City as he was coming off the Disabled List. But this is one start after that and he needs to have his stuff or he might as well just hand the ball to Ramos and just sit down. Oakland will counter with Harden who is 2-1 with a 4.63 ERA. We need to have momentum from a win in this game heading to Seattle where, in case you forgot, the Rays were devoured dropping 3 of 4 back at the beginning of June.
Overall, this will be a telling series, every game from this point on is do or die for the Rays. We lose more than three in the remaining games on this road trip and we're finished, start picking your playoff favorites and hope for a better 2012. The Rays will need their bats. Offense is crucial. O.co Coliseum (better known to us Rays fans as Oakland Coliseum) does not have a kind history with the Rays. One note for this stop on the road trip is we will run in to our old buddy Grant Balfour who leads the team in Holds, this should be interesting. So hop-to, Rays, we have a season to save.