Tampa Bay Rays: Little victories could lead to something big

Tampa Bay Rays
Whether David Price stays or goes may depend on how the Rays perform in July.

While the season has been disappointing for the Tampa Bay Rays, it finally looks like they are showing signs of life. With one of the worst records in baseball, and a last-place position in the AL East, the Rays haven’t seen defeat like this since the Devil Rays days. Is the current three-game winning streak a sign that the tide has turned?

Even with a “crummy” season and a losing record, Joe Maddon isn’t giving any false hope. He’s open with the media concerning the team’s losses, but he’s also hoping for a better second half of the season. His Twitter followers get to see it first hand – here’s what Maddon has been saying …

On June 24, after a 6-5 loss to the Pirates, Maddon tweeted, “As always I loved the effort, but it’s actual victories, not moral victories, that we’re looking for.”

Harsh? Maybe a little, but at least we’re not the only ones seeing it.

His tone has changed a bit since the three-game winning streak, and he offered a little motivation on the June 28: “For us to get back on top, tomorrow is a game we need to win. We have to start winning series consistently.”

And he matched that Tweet with a drive for success: “The effort has been there. Now all of a sudden the performance is matching it. We’re no stranger to comebacks. We’re in it for the long haul.”

Can the Rays still manage to cultivate that comeback culture, or are they missing it completely? Only the rest of the season will tell. A 36-49 record, and four other teams stand between them and first place. If they’re going to get there, they better get moving.

In the middle of their losing season, there is another type of loss looming over the team. Are they going to lose their star pitcher, David Price?

Price, who isn’t afraid to speak up, told ESPN he’s bothered by trade rumors, even admitting that they’ve put him in a bad mood. He was quoted saying, “I don’t have an answer for you guys. I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know when I’m going. So, there’s nothing I can really comment on.”

Can the Rays really afford to lose David Price? Well, in retrospect, they always survive no matter who they lose. With any trade,  compensation is required, and they Rays will likely land some highly touted prospects in return. But, if the Rays climb back into contention over the next 30 days, the trade scenarios will be interesting.

The 2014 season hasn’t been as good to Tampa Bay as fans had anticipated. July through September will require a lot more than a few three-game winning streaks. We need a monumental rally.

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