At the start of the season, Tampa Bays rookie pitcher Taj Bradley took the league by storm. He won his first three starts of the season and was looking like a strong candidate for the American League Rookie of the Year.
Well, things have taken a turn for the 22-year-old. In his last six starts, he lost four games and has had two no decisions.
His last win came on June 21st against the Baltimore Orioles. In his last start on Saturday against the Houston Astros, Bradley only pitched three and a third innings, giving up five runs on three hits and four walks.
July Was Rough On Taj Bradley
During the month of July, Bradley made five starts and pitched in 21 2/3 innings. He finished with a 7.89 ERA, giving up five home runs and walking 10. Bradley has much more to learn about the art of pitching and as his career progresses, he will make adjustments to his game and find ways to be consistent and win more games.
On the season, Bradley has a 5-7 record with a 5.67 ERA. He’s made 16 starts and has struck out 99 batters.
Positive Signs For Taj Bradley In July Outing
Now Bradley did have one solid outing in July. And that came against the Texas Rangers. He went five innings and gave up two runs while striking out nine. Despite the outing, the Rays fell to the Rangers 5-3, giving Bradley his sixth loss on the season.
Though the Rays are still in a solid position to make the postseason, they will need Bradley to step up, especially going into September. We all know that Bradley has what it takes to be an elite pitcher. And let’s remember, this is his first MLB season, and he has seen his ups and downs this year.
After his recent start, Bradley continues to have confidence in himself and knows he can compete with the best pitchers in the game.
“I’m never going to stray from anything off a bad game or a game like this,” he said in an article from the Tampa Bay Times.”I am the pitcher I am, and that’s how I’m gonna go out there every single game.”
Tamp Bay Rays Falling In Standings, Going 7-16 In July
The Rays have struggled tremendously in July. Through 23 games, they had a dismal record of 7-16. Rays manager Kevin Nash has tried to pinpoint the root of his team’s struggles over the past month.
“Get any momentum, yeah, that’s been a challenge,” Cash said. “I think that’s very fair. If I could put my finger on it, I would. I don’t know what the cause of it is. (I’d) go back to the offense, just continuing to be quiet.”
While the offense has struggled, the team’s rookie pitcher has struggled just as much and these next two months will be very crucial for Bradley and the Rays.