Game 50 Lineups and Outlooks
As far as milestones go fifty games is pretty meaningless. We’re almost a third of the way through the season, but not quite. Team record starts to mean something, which should have a few teams already cashing in their meager stacks for another run another time. The Rays aren’t quite there yet, but the lackluster play since Kevin Kiermaier met the infirmary has started to look like it’s something that is going to be here for awhile. Perhaps this is the nadir and the team only improves from here, but I’m starting to wonder where that is going to come from.
Brad Boxberger will make his 2016 debut tonight and should go a long way in helping cover up one of the biggest glaring weaknesses on the team. The bullpen has been mostly pretty bad other than Erasmo Ramirez and Alex Colome being two of the best options any team could turn toward. Getting an effective Boxberger, no guarantee, would go a long way in giving the team a second shutdown righty that doesn’t exactly struggle with lefties thanks to his very good change up. The Rays have plenty of matchup lefties, but getting someone that can shut down a righty in high leverage has been a need for a while. Hopefully Boxxxy can plug the hole.
The system doesn’t know what to do with a guy like Andriese who never had huge prospect pedigree, but has pitched very well on the farm. Additionally, Randy has compiled an eye-popping .277 wOBA versus 216 righties that only goes up slightly to .309 vs. his 171 lefties at the Major League level. Pin those stats on a more known commodity and folks are left nodding. On this guy it is met with instant suspicion. I wouldn’t expect him to be this incredibly good going forward, but I think he can be successful. Especially if relegated to a quick leash before the opposition can begin to counter.
These aren’t your bandwagon brother’s Royals, at first blush. Sure, Esky Magic lives and mostly dies at the top of their lineup. Cain and Hosmer have entrenched themselves as very good players that can hurt you in a number of ways, but it feels a little bit light with Mike Moustakas recently going down for the season due to an ACL tear. Morales is having kind of a down year after 2015’s big bounceback to good dope days. I will be intrigued to watch Merrifield who can probably relate to Matt Andriese as a fellow older, post-hype prospect that never really even got any initial hype. He looks like he has a contact-oriented approach with little power and no patience. So, y’know, a Royal, through and through. That’s kind of the story with the other guys. Some speed, some contact, some solid defense. This team is hot right now trotting lineups like this out so the Rays better show up.
Going from the Yankees to the Royals bullpen is a fun transition. Davis and Herrera are light’s out. Soria and Hochevar are both very good when at their best, but can be shaky from time to time. Wang and Alexander shouldn’t be threats in high leverage with Chris Young probably being more of a low leverage mop up man, as well.
The Rays continue to roll with a three man bench so that they can have the extra reliever. Today we see Brad Boxberger make his way back to town. He seems fit and ready, but it would be nice to see some success out of him before throwing him out there in high leverage. The team may not have that luxury, however, as the Rays can certainly match up at the tip of the spear, but they fall further behind the deeper the pen needs to go.
I could see this being a back and forth affair that doesn’t get decided until the later innings. Sounds like a fun one.
On a personal note, I realize how trivial stuff like this is in comparison to what the families that have lost loved ones in conflict have gone through. A solemn thank you to all those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice for this great nation on this Memorial Day.