Are you thinking of jumping off the Rays bandwagon? Don't.
I'm not going to tell you that everything is fine. Anybody can see that things are not fine. By all means, be concerned. Be very concerned. But if you need a couple of tiny bright spots to help you keep the faith, consider the following:
- June is over, but half a season remains. There's still plenty of time to get things together. That's not to say that anybody should be complacent; the future gets shorter every day. But time is still on our side right now. That's our biggest asset right now.
- Learn from the past. Back in April and May when the Rays were mowing opponents down, it wasn't a fluke. They weren't winning games on weird bounces and crazy plays. They were playing fundamentally sound baseball. Pitching, defense and timely hitting. And that's what they're going to need to get back on track. True, you can't flip a switch and make everybody start hitting over .450 with runners on base like they were for a while there earlier this season. But if you're hoping for a return to form, it's a lot better to be hoping that return relies more on skill than dumb luck.
- The roster is healthy. Geez, I should be knocking on all kinds of wood right now.
- Compare apples to oranges. The year the Lightning won the Stanley Cup, roughly half way through the season, there were serious questions about whether they'd qualify for the playoffs. Then Marty St. Louis got ticked off about having his playing time reduced, management went out and acquired Darryl Sydor and we know how that story ended.
- An 8-5 loss is better than an 8-0 loss. There's no such thing as style points and moral victories are for suckers, but to score five runs in the last three innings when they were down by eight on the road indicates that they're not willing to sit back and accept defeat. That's something. Right?
Again, make no mistake, none of this is intended to paint a rosy "everything-is-going-to-be-just-fine" picture. This is a team that needs to get it together, sooner than later. Like, tomorrow. That would be good.