Powered by LF Kelly Johnson, the Rays offense has flipped the script and is now the engine the drives the team. "It definitely is a little bit of a change and a welcomed change for us on the offensive end," 3B Evan Longoria said before Tuesday's game with the Marlins. "It's good to know offensively that we're able to produce some runs and help them." No Ray is swinging a hotter bat than Johnson, who entered Tuesday's game with a .570 slugging percentage, third best in the American League. Johnson led the team with 10 home runs and 32 RBI, becoming just the first player in team history to led in those categories through 50 games. His 24 RBI through Monday were the second most this month to Detroit's Miguel Cabrera who had 29. In 23 games beginning April 17, Johnson was batting .365, a run that raised his season average to .296 entering Tuesday's game. "He's been as hot as it comes this month," Longoria said. With Johnson's resurgence and with Longoria (.323 prior to Tuesday's game) and 1B James Loney (.342 after Monday) leading the way, the Rays have produced a major league-high 208 runs since April 17. Manager Joe Maddon calls it a "swarming offense," because the Rays do so many things to score runs from home runs to sacrifice flies. "It is," Longoria said, "because you kind of get it from all angles because you can't predict all the angles in this lineup."
Johnson's bat invigorates offense
Tampa Tribune | May 29