The Rays starting pitching has been one of their fortes for the past few years. As of right now, the rotation looks pretty healthy. 5 of the 5 pitchers in the rotation can give you quality innings and a chance to win every night. There’s not many teams that can say that.Even the Red Sox and Yankees have had weaknesses in the starting rotation lately. Lackey has had a terrible season and the Yankees have had inconsistency and injuries from their starters. The order of the Rays rotation right now, is David Price, James Shields, Jeff Niemann, Alex Cobb, and Jeremy Hellickson. To start, the first 2 starters are All-stars.
The next 3 are very young pitchers with great potential. We’ve already seen how good Niemann and Hellickson can be. The exciting news for the Rays future, is that it looks like Jeff Niemann is returning to his form from early 2010. Alex Cobb has been giving the Rays very good starts against tough teams since he’s been called up.
And finally Jeremy Hellickson, who has also continued to give the Rays quality starts and proving to be an impressive rookie. Overall it’s a very good rotation so far in 2011. The only concern I can see in the Rays future is James Shields, who has actually been the best Rays pitcher this year. The last few starts Big Game James didn’t seem the same as he was earlier. The last start was what really made me start to worry.
You’re probably wondering what’s going to happen when Wade Davis returns off the DL. Well that’s most likely going to mean a temporary halt in Alex Cobb’s big league run. It’s unfortunate because Cobb really earned a spot in the rotation in my opinion. Even though I do have trust in Wade Davis, I rather have Cobb in the rotation for now. It could also be a positive thing for Davis. In Durham, the coaches can work with him to improve his fastball command and slider.
At the end of the day, I believe that the Rays rotation is the foundation of a successful future for them. Hopefully everyone will stay healthy and continue to pitch well, and then next year the Rays can be there in October.