Rays biding time, look forward to hitting stride

Club 'not comfortable' hovering around .500, but confident all pieces will come together

Rays biding time, look forward to hitting stride

DETROIT -- Hovering around the .500 mark isn't where the Rays want to be. On the other hand, given their situation, it's not a bad place to be, either.

"It's encouraging," Chris Archer said. "And the reason why is if you play .500 baseball for five months of the season and then one month you go off, say you win 17 out of 27, I think that's where the separator is really going to be."

Archer elaborated, saying he didn't mean strictly winning as many as they lose.

"Maybe a game or two above," Archer said. "[But] it usually takes that one month or that 10-game stretch where you win eight out of 10, or nine out of 10, that really is a separator at the end of the season.

"You look, and very rarely are teams, unless you're the Cubs, consistently up seven games every month. If that was the case, you'd win 110 games. If you win 95 games, you have one stretch that you really go off. So it's encouraging, because we haven't even hit our full stride yet and we're in a good spot."

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Manager Kevin Cash called Archer's comments a "fair assessment" before adding: "Definitely not satisfied. Not comfortable. We're a better team than what we've shown. We've played some good baseball, some not. We've had some tough losses and haven't clicked on all cylinders yet. ... We still think we're a very talented team that is very capable of doing much more."

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The Rays' hitting has carried the team through the first four games of the road trip, all wins, while the pitching has been serviceable.

"I think the good teams go through different phases in the season," said Archer, explaining that both the offense and the pitching go through ups and downs. "And then, in September or October, hopefully you're clicking on all cylinders.

"Right now, our offense is helping us out tremendously. Our bullpen is doing a pretty good job, too. From the starting standpoint, we know we can do better. And it's scary to think about that for us -- when we actually start pitching to our full capabilities, one through five."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.