Better Than Expected Start for the Rays:

A record of 13-15 may not sound all that great . . . unless you’re the Tampa Bay Rays. Considering the way they looked before the start of the season, being two games under .500 little over a month into the season is quite the accomplishment.

In 2017, the Rays ended the season 80-82 in third place in the American League East Division. Soon after that began a major roster shakeup. Gone were Corey Dickerson, Steven Souza, Jr., Logan Morrison, Tommy Hunter, Lucas Duda, Jake Odorizzi, Alex Cobb, and the face of the franchise, Evan Longoria. Manager Kevin Cash announced his plan to use his bullpen every fifth day instead of a dedicated starting pitcher. Most fans and analysts looked at 2018 as a rebuilding year for Tampa Bay, with the team destined for a last place finish.

But rebuilding might be going a bit more quickly for the Rays. Along with a 13-15 record after one month of play, they rattled off an eight-game winning streak, which included taking two of three games from one of the hottest teams in the league, the Boston Red Sox. So Tampa Bay does not appear to be the pushover many expected.

One reason for this pretty decent start is the offense. Seven of the nine everyday players are hitting better than .260, with Joey Wendle and Mallex Smith both batting over .300. Even at .178, Carlos Gomez can be dangerous, as demonstrated by his four home runs. Two newcomers have led the way for the Rays offense, Denard Span (.266, 3 HR, 21 RBIs) and C.J. Cron (.269, 7 HR, 19 RBIs). Your text to link…

Pitching has been good enough to get Tampa Bay its current record, but certainly needs to get better if they want to give other teams headaches. While Blake Snell is 4-1 with a 2.52 ERA, many others in the starting rotation and bullpen have ERAs above 4.00. This includes Chris Archer, who is 2-2 with a 6.05 ERA.

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