MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Washington NationalsIf you have been hanging around these parts for a while, you know that the model for this site is to tell you what the Rays have done, what they are doing and try to project what they will do based on what we have learned. Think of RI as “Tampa Bay Rays 101.” However, for the next 12 days we will step away from the standard, and we present to you 12 “presents” the Tampa Bay Rays should give to their fans.

Without further ado…

On the fifth day of Raysmas, the Tampa Bay Rays gave to us, FIVE STARTING PITCHERS WITH AT LEAST 23 STARTS…

Here’s a stat for you. In the last five seasons, when the five main starting pitchers make at least 23 starts, the Rays go to the playoffs. If any of those five fail to make 23 starts, the Rays do not play in October*.

As much as we like to talk about how the Rays still have eight big league caliber starting pitchers even after trading James Shields and Wade Davis, there are five guys we truly trust.

And in the end, it doesn’t matter who the Blue Jays have added, or how much money the Yankees spend, or how much more mature the Orioles will be. If the Rays five main starting pitchers start 23-32 games, the Rays are going to win 85-90 games. And if the offense does anything at all, the Rays will win 90-95 games and be in the playoffs.

* Alex Cobb made 23 starts in 2012 as a “backup” starting pitcher.

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6 Comments

  1. don says:

    I wish 5 (good) starting pitches was the Rays answer to making the playoffs (They Think it is) but if last year taught them anything, we may NEVER have better starting pitching & bullpen/relieve pitching than we did last year...what happened
    They lose their (financial) ass with NO playoffs
    My advice: Pay someone who can Hit (not Rays strong suit)....

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    • Brent says:

      Mr. Negative Nancy (Don), they had a World Series team last year. What team was you following last year? I seen a great team get plagued by injury after injury. When healthy, our Rays had the best record in all of Major Leagues, after the 1st month, the stretch in Aug. after Longo came back, and finished the season 12-2! But, when most of our key players were out, we had the 2nd most E's in the Majors, with players finding it hard to get there batter eye. Think about it, what if Longo didn't get injured, or Jennings, Joyce, Upton, etc. for months at a time, OR if the A's or O's lost 2 more games like they should of with all there late game wins, we might be talking about how the Rays were going to repeat as champs!

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      • Brent says:

        As for our starters, as hard as it might be to think about, with a year more mature pitching staff, they might be better then last year, a lil' more run support, and good luck to the rest in the Majors, they'll need it!

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  2. Tom says:

    Cork,

    Do we even know who the 5th starter is going to be? I would assume the top 4 are: Price, Hellickson, Moore, and Niemann but do we know if #5 will be Cobb or Hernandez?

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      The 5th starter right now is Cobb. Certainly Hernandez (or even Archer) could come in and win the job. But at this point, there is no reason to assume that will happen. We would need to see a significant improvement from Hernandez. And despite his success in a couple of big league starts, Archer needs to show that he can keep his walk totals down consistently.

      As for Cobb, we pretty much know what he is. He will be a dependable, if not great, starter that should throw a lot of innings. And that's pretty good for a 5th starter. If one of the other guys proves to be better, then the Rays will have an even better rotation.

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  3. Dave L says:

    Cork of your first few wishes this one has the most likelihood of happen.

    But this is why I think it won't.

    The Rays plan to use 7 starters just like last year. They will do it with liberal use of the DL just like last year revolving mostly around our interleague play which luckily for us is bunched up in clusters even thought the league is evenly spread throughout the season.

    We will also make full use of the options on Odorizzi, Cobb and yes even Matt Moore. RH/FC might have been brought in to fascillitate that.

    Cobb is ready but MM is a notoriously slow starter in the minors and last year as well. If they feel he is in that mode again they may let him work that out in Durham then bring him up later after when hes got his groove on. It may have occur with the subtext of some phantom injury he's rehabbing but dont bee surprised if MM isnt sharp in March hee makes more starts in Durham than in the big leagues in April and May.

    Call me crazy but that may happen. We cant afford to let him warm up at the Rays expense and now we have options.

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