By Cassandra Khan, CBS Tampa

The Tampa Bay Rays just managed four hits and one run against the Yankees’ Ivan Nova in a 4-1 loss last night. This continues the team’s hitting woes, as the lineup is batting just .157 for the last week. “This is a guy who has given up at least 5 runs in his last 3 outings, and you can’t even muster a hit off of the guy,” said The Commish, Justin Pawlowski, “the Rays have made Andy Pettite, at 39 years old, and Ivan Nova the last 2 nights look like Roy Holliday and Cliff Lee back-to-back.”

Many people are blaming hitting coach Derek Shelton for the team’s struggles, but The Commish believes it is the players who have failed to show up that are to blame. “The criticism falls on the players who have been in there every day. The players that you’re supposed to be relying on. The players that should elevate their game with certain other players being out, Evan Longoria,” he said, “Yes, the criticism does fall on Ben Zobrist, I don’t care what Joe Maddon says. He’s batting .199. Two errors the other night, you’ve got to elevate your game. Carlos Pena has to elevate his game. It’s one thing to point the fingers at Derek Shelton…but there are certain individuals who need to take their share of the blame as well.”

These frustrations are coming to a head after the Rays dropped from a tie for first place, to third place after last night’s loss. The Commish argues that it is not merely to get June wins that the players need to show up, but for October should the Rays make it to the postseason. “Rays find ways to win. You can do that in the regular season, you can win these games with pitching, and if the defense improves, and have a winning record and go to the postseason. it’s a different animal when you get to the postseason because youre not just facing great pitching, you also have to have the ability to score a run. With each day that goes by im thinking once they get to the postseason, is that it?”

For the past few years the magic number for the Rays has been five. This season they have scored more than five runs 12 times. When they do that they are 12-0. They have scored five or more runs 20 times this season, and when they do that they are 18-2. “There’s no doubt, when they score, they’re winning,” said Pawlowski.

So the time is now to figure out which players will be the ones to step it up for the team. Who is going to elevate their game? Time to figure it out.


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