What A Difference Five Days Make for the Tampa Bay Rays

Five days ago it looked like all hope was lost. The Rays let another early lead slip away, with the bullpen melting down following a strong performance by Roberto Hernandez, and the Rays’ record slipped to 14-18. Their starting pitching was inconsistent, their bullpen was flimsy at best, and it didn’t even matter that their offense was on fire. They were a bad team and everyone was willing to write them off. But now, everything is changing. The Rays’ record sits at 19-18 after they have reeled off five straight wins. There’s certainly still more work to be done–the Blue Jays and Padres are a combined 31-44 on the season–but it just seems like everything is beginning to click. The bullpen has done a complete 180, reemerging as one of the strengths of the team. The starting pitching remains enigmatic, but suddenly the Rays aren’t afraid when adversity comes along. There’s a confidence in this team that has suddenly appeared, and the way  the Rays are playing, it may not go away again anytime soon. The season is not even a quarter through and anything can happen. But by the end of it all, the Rays have the ability to be every bit as good of a team as we thought they would be and contend in the AL East until the bitter end. The past few weeks have been terrible. At this point, though, the storm has passed and the Rays have emerged as strong as ever. The season begins with predictions of a World Series berth and an enthusiasm around this team unmatched in Rays history. It’s been rough to be a Rays fan of late, but now it’s time to get excited about this team once again.

Topics: Tampa Bay Rays

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  • Baltar

    You were right on in this article, Robbie. After another tough loss and a 14-18 record, even I, optimist that I am, felt that the Rays were very unlikely to make the playoffs and could even have a losing season. It appeared that they belonged more with the Blue Jays than the Yanks, Orioles and Red Sox.
    The winning streak since then has at least lifted my depressed mood.
    You are also correct that they have a long ways to go. Their playoff chances are still not at all good, 4 1/2 GB the Yanks with the Orioles and Red Sox in between. Let’s hope they continue their recent winning ways against Boston.

    • Robbie_Knopf

      Agreed. I compulsively look at the standings and it’s tough to see them that far back, but if the Rays keep playing well, they’ll be fine. This is still a very talented team, and can’t wait to see how far they can go.

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