Love Their Way, But Then Again…

There are a lot of things to love about this year’s Rays club.

They are fun to watch, full of enthusiasm, and they always seem to find a way to win as they did Wednesday afternoon when B.J. Upton doubled home Rich Thompson in the bottom of the 11th inning for a walk-off win.

But lurking in the background is the team’s abysmal defense.  That’s not a good thing when a team is built around pitching and defense.

The Rays made another error on Wednesday, giving them 41 on the season.  Elliot Johnson’s error occurred in the fifth inning and cost the Rays a run.  And while that error ultimately did not cost the Rays a win, it did prevent James Shields from chalking up win No. 7.  Joel Peralta surrendered a two-run homer in the eighth that would have made the score 4-3 rather than 4-4 had the run enabled by Johnson’s error not occurred.

Nobody on the team seems immune from the fielding funk going around.  The team’s Gold Glove winners are Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena.  Yes, Longoria is on the disabled list and surely his return will help the team in the field, right? I’m sure it will, but even Longoria had six errors in 23 games.  And Pena, who won the award in 2008 when he made just two errors, already has two this season.

I have no idea how this is all going to shake out for the team this season. But if the Rays don’t clean up their act in the field, and soon, otherwise they will not find their way to the postseason no matter how well they pitch or how much chemistry they have.

–Bill Chastain

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