A lot of major league teams have underperformed this season – most notably the Tampa Bay Rays (38-49), who, other than the still-rebuilding Houston Astros, have the worst record in the American League.
The Rays were expected to contend for a World Series this year but have been ravaged by injuries, especially to their starting rotation. They’ve won five in a row but still trail Toronto (47-39) by 9.5 games in the AL East.
And yet, MLB Network analyst Cliff Floyd doesn’t feel the Rays have been the most underachieving team in baseball this year. Instead, he believes that distinction belongs to Arizona (35-51), which has the worst record in the majors.
Yes, it’s even worse than Houston (36-50).
“I look at what we thought they were going to be going into the season and then you look at the NL West and you go, ‘Wow, I never thought that Arizona would be the way they are right now,” Floyd said on The Morning Show. “It’s due to guys not hitting – guys not doing the things you have to do to win a ball game consistently. And when you get to the point where you get to the ball park every single day and you’re 81 games in – and you’re 13 games out – it just (shouldn’t be that way). You can throw it on the starting pitching, you can throw it on the bullpen, you can throw it on some injuries to your big boys – Mark Trumbo has not been in the lineup to protect (Paul) Goldschmidt, even though Goldschmidt is still having an All-Star-caliber season thus far. You still look at this team and go, ‘What the heck happened?’”
“You can talk about the staring pitching, which is always key, but you still have to hit and score some runs to allow these guys to relax a little bit and go out there and pitch. It just hasn’t happened for Arizona thus far.”
On the other end of the pendulum, Floyd expects two surprising teams to meet in the World Series.
“I’m leaning toward Toronto,” he said. “I really am leaning towards Toronto. I really believe that what they’ve accomplished thus far (has been incredible). The starting rotation’s been great. They’ve gotten a ton of run production from the offense. The bullpen has held together nicely. Do I believe they need another starter? Yeah, but I still like what they’ve done. I still like the fact they can bash you out and still score four or five runs a game and alleviate that pressure from the staring rotation. All those things said, I’m leaning toward Toronto at this point.”
Floyd’s NL pick may be even more surprising. Then again, maybe it isn’t, as Milwaukee (51-35) has the second-best record in baseball.
“I think when you look at overall teams and what you need, you need everything to be in sync – and the Brewers are in sync,” Floyd said. “They’re just a really good team. They have a good bullpen, the offense is clicking and I can live with the starting pitching. So that would be my World Series at this point.”