Season summary (so far) and game reviews

Kean Wong

Wikimedia Commons

Kean Wong in motion at bat

The Tampa Bay Rays baseball team has tied the record for most consecutive wins to start the season. They played their first 13 games without losing once. The only other teams in history to do this were the 1982 Braves, and the 1987 Brewers. They have certainly had a historic start to their season, but what allowed this to happen? Did they have an easy schedule, or are they just that good?

They started their season with a commanding 4-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers. Looking back on it now, we know that the Tigers are nothing better than mediocre, with a record of 7 wins and 13 losses. But the Rays went on to win both of the other opening games versus the Tigers, even crushing them in the second game by an astounding 10 points. 

After this point in the season, we knew that the Rays had potential to be a serious competitor in the MLB because of their ability to score runs seemingly at will. In the second game, 7 different players on the Rays scored 1 or more runs. 

The next set of games was going against the Washington Nationals. The Rays swept them again, shooting ahead to a record of 6-0. Again, the Nationals now are at the bottom of their division, the National League East. So at this point, the Rays have had arguably the easiest schedule of any team in the MLB, so their 6-0 record is almost expected. They were an above-average team last year, with a winning record of 86-76. 

During this time, the first baseman Yandy Diaz was playing incredibly. He scored 3 runs and got 2 hits on 4 at-bats in the second game. Yandy is a lot of the reason that the Rays were doing so well during this stretch of the season. He is considered by many to be the most underrated player in the league, and he had been a huge contributor to his team this far into the season.

In the next series of games, the Rays had it even easier. They played the abysmal Oakland Athletics, who now have a record of 4-18. This is the worst record of anyone in the MLB, so when they had to match up with the 6-0 Rays, many predicted these games to be blowouts. And they certainly were. The Athletics were able to put up 5 runs in the first game, but they couldn’t prevent the Rays from scoring 9 runs. This game was the only one in the series that was even competitive. The next two were total blowouts; the A’s didn’t stand a chance. The score of both the 2nd and 3rd games was 11-0. Up until that point in the season, the Rays had not won a game by less than 4 points. 

The future is bright
for the Rays.

During these games, Randy Arozarena performed exceptionally well. He had a hit in the first game, and 2 hits in both the second and third games. In the second game, Harold Ramirez also had a great game, with 3 runs, 3 hits, and only 4 at-bats. 

This changed when they played the Red Sox. The Red Sox were the first team that was actually able to compete with the Rays. In the first game, they held the Rays to only 1 run but weren’t able to put up any themselves. And then in the 3rd game, the Sox were able to put up a relatively astounding 7 runs on the board. Of course, they were outmatched by the 9 runs that the Rays scored. The other 2 games against the Sox were the typical high-scoring games that the Rays had been putting together all season long. 

The Rays proved that they were a legitimate contender when they beat the Red Sox all 4 games. The Red Sox went on after that to have a record of 12-12 (as of Apr. 25). The Sox may be at the bottom of their division, but they are by no means a bad team. The Rays winning 4 in a row against them sent a message to the fans and the rest of the MLB; they were a serious team.

As of the time this is being written, the Rays have moved on to be 20-3, and they are at the top of the league. They are on pace to be the winningest team in MLB history, but they will likely level out with some of the other top teams in history. They may have a slump about halfway through the season, as most teams who start out like this do. And sure, they have had the help of an easy early schedule, but they have also been proving themselves by beating tougher teams. The future is bright for the Rays.