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Rays Offensive Struggles Can Only Improve, Right?

As I'm sure you're all well aware, the Rays have stunk on offense recently. They've scored seven runs over the course of their first five games, and their team batting average is an incredible .136 - lower than National League pitchers have averaged so far this season (.150). With Longoria out for the next couple of weeks, this is about as bad a scenario as you could have forecast for the beginning of the Rays' season.

But there is reason to hope! There have been some great articles written recently that show why the Rays are bound to improve on offense soon. I think all Rays fans could use a bit of a boost today, so here are some reasons for optimism:

The Rays History of Offensive Anemia

In an astonishing turn, the worst five-game stretch occurred during the final week of the 2010 season, when the team hit for a cumulative 442 OPS. During that week, such pitching demigods as Bruce Chen and Kevin Millwood took the Rays behind the proverbial woodshed. Some may attempt to draw a connection between that stretch and this one, but the only ties are 1) the end of one season versus the beginning of another and 2) the majority of the games were played without Evan Longoria. It would be easy to point to one or the other, but there are so many unaccounted for variables that it's just foolhardy to do so.

Rays Lead League in Terrible Luck

In short, our pitching has been outstanding (at least given how run-tastic 2011 has been thus far), but has suffered from unfortunate timing (doubles following walks instead of leading off an inning, for example). Meanwhile, our hitters are pressing a little (raising the K%), but hitting an inordinate amount of balls DIRECTLY INTO GLOVES AND MITTS.

Here's hoping these guys are right. I know I can't take much more of watching the Rays pop up feebly in nearly every at bat.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.