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Rays believe they will eventually be a solid-hitting team

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In his office, Kevin Cash is saying it.

In front of his locker, Evan Longoria is saying it.

To all the world, Logan Forsythe is “absolutely” saying it.

This Tampa Bay Rays team will hit. Eventually.

Oh, you might wonder after the start of the season. The Rays had only 18 runs in their first six games. They have led in only seven of 63 innings. There are still low averages in the lineup like the .050 of Brad Miller and the .048 of Logan Morrison and the .154 of Hank Conger. Five players in Tuesday night’s lineup were hitting .222 or under…and the Rays won.

Still, it’s early, and Cash is certain his team will be a good hitting team.

“We’ve got good hitters,” said Cash. “Some guys are hitting the ball well right now. Some guys have started off kind of quiet. We’re confident we have plenty of guys who are going to hit the ball well. What it says most is we didn’t give in to a good pitcher on the mound.”

Forsythe, for instance, will tell you he’s been getting the barrel of the bat on the ball a lot more frequently than his average would indicate.

Longoria has hit two home runs in his last three games. His average is up to .310.

“We’re a lot more confident than we were at this time last year,” Longoria said. “That helps from top to bottom. It helps guys’ mindsets when you are comfortable knowing the guys in front of you and behind you are going to swing the bat with confidence as well.”

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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