The Rays' Pitching Injuries Are Piling Up Despite Dominance

Tampa Bay Rays v Cincinnati Reds
Tampa Bay Rays v Cincinnati Reds / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

The Tampa Bay Rays are Major League Baseball's best team by far this season. After Friday's action, the Rays boast a 30-10 record and a ridiculous run differential of plus-120, baseball's top mark by 34 runs. But while the Rays have been phenomenal, their incredible pitching staff has taken some serious injury hits. Another came today.

On Friday, the Rays put starter Drew Rasmussen on the 60-day injured list with a flexor strain. He'll be out a minimum of two months. On the season, Rasmussen is 4-2 with a 2.62 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. That follows news this week that rehabbing ace Tyler Glasnow had a setback in his return because of a nagging oblique strain.

Those hits come a few weeks after it was announced lefty starter Jeffrey Springs will have to undergo Tommy John surgery. Springs looked to be on his way to a breakout season before getting hurt. Through three starts, the 30-year-old was 2-0, with a 0.56 ERA, 0.50 WHIP and 24 strikeouts in 16 innings.

Springs joined Andrew Kittredge, Shane Baz and Glasnow in recovering from Tommy John surgery. On top of that, closer Pete Fairbanks is out with a forearm injury, Garrett Cleavinger was just moved to the 60-day IL and is likely done for the year after an ACL injury, and Shawn Armstrong is dealing with a neck injury and has been out since spring training. That's a lot of key arms on the shelf.

While the Rays are so good this level of bad injury luck may not hurt them any time soon, missing that many good pitchers will eventually take a toll. Will it slow them down? There's no way to know yet. But they need to get healthy. It's a long season and the AL East is loaded this year.