Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash throws batting practice Thursday at Tropicana Field before the start of the team's road trip that begins the second half of the regular season schedule (Steve Carney/953WDAE.com)
ST. PETERSBURG (WDAE) -- The Tampa Bay Rays may have the fourth best record in the American League, and their 52 wins before the All-Star ranks fourth most in franchise history, but manager Kevin Cash believes that keeping the same pace through the rest of the year, which would earn the team 93 wins, won't be enough to be able to be playing into October.
"We need to get going. Knowing who's in our division, and in the rest of the American League, I don't know if 93 gets you in," Cash admitted Thursday prior to the team's workout at Tropicana Field. "We've got to do something a little more special than that, even though that's pretty good. We learned last year that 90 wasn't getting us in, and it was fairly a long way out."
Cash points out that while the pitching, and specifically the bullpen, has taken the majority of criticism, the biggest issue he has seen has come from the offense.
"We are capable of performing better offensively, being a little bit more consistent," the Rays manager pointed out. "We've got to do a better job of hitting with runners in scoring position. We've had a bunch of opportunities. You look at that stretch that we went on right before the break, and we're glad we won the two games right at the end, but there were a lot of games that we had opportunities to win in the fifth, sixth, seventh with a big hit, a separator right there, that we didn't get."
Cash said that getting right-hander Diego Castillo back from the injured list will be big for the bullpen, but with the injuries to Jose Alvarado (right oblique) and now Chaz Roe (right flexor strain), there will still be entry of opportunities for the pitching staff to prove they're ready for a run into the postseason.
As for other injured players, first baseman Ji-Man Choi (ankle) is also expected to be activated from the injured list this weekend, while infielder Brandon Lowe's bone bruise on his right shin had improved, it isn't to the point that he could be ready to play this weekend. Cash said they don't expect him to be ready before the series in the Bronx against the Yankees beginning Monday. Meanwhile, third baseman Matt Duffy had his rehab assignment moved to Triple-A Durham, and he is scheduled to play third base for the Bulls tonight and again on Saturday, and get a chance to DH on Friday.