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Tampa Bay Rays: A clean Sweep of the Yankees

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Over the weekend, the Tampa Bay Rays did something they haven’t done since 2012. They swept the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field.

The Tampa Bay Rays allowed the Yankees only five runs, made no errors and the starters won all three games. All but one of the wins were quality but none was better than Sunday’s game.

It all started with the pitching. Rookie Blake Snell pitched five and two thirds innings giving up only five hits and two runs while striking out nine. His only mistake was an ill timed change up to Carlos Beltran that resulted in a two run home run.

The bullpen then finished the game in perfect order. Xavier Cedeno finished off the sixth; Brad Boxberger and Erasmo Ramirez allowed just one run in two innings to setup Alex Colome’s fourth save in four games.

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The next plus factor was rookie catcher Luke Maile. Maile was excellent behind the plate as he called an almost perfect game, he kept Snell on track and blocked any number of Snell’s nasty breaking balls in the dirt. I haven’t seen that kind of all around catching performance since Jose Molina.

The Rays offense was also spot on. After leaving the bases loaded in the second inning, the Tampa Bay Rays put Corey Dickerson on third and Steven Souza Jr. on second with nobody out in the fourth.

They didn’t get a hit in the inning but scored both runners as Kevin Kiermaier and Tim Beckham hit perfectly placed RBI ground balls. This example of advancing the runner has been missing from the Tampa Bay Ray’s offense all year long.

This was followed by a powerful solo home run into the Rays’ Touch Tank in the fifth inning by Brad Miller. It was his second home run of the series giving him 17 for the season.

He is on track to hit 25 in 2016. There are some flaws in Miller’s game but raw line drive power is not one of them.

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In the sixth inning another rare occurrence took place.

The Tampa Bay Rays loaded the bases with two out and Luke Maile at the plate.

Maile, hitting under .200, had grounded out in a similar situation in the second inning.

You closed your eyes and hoped he would make something happen. Sure enough, he hits a first pitch slider right over second base and the Rays score two more runs.

The defense chipped in with three crisp double plays, turned in by the unusual trio of Brad Miller at short, Tim Beckham at second and Nick Franklin at first.

Twice they came with the bases loaded double plays and shut down Yankee scoring opportunities. Beckham continues to play well and should be given more chances.

The game was not without its misplays by the Tampa Bay Rays. The blown second inning scoring opportunity has happened too many times this year.

The first pitch change-up to Carlos Beltran never should have been thrown.

Fielding misplays by Longoria and Franklin, while not costly, should not have taken place but overall, if the Rays could play this way every game, I’ll take my chances on a successful season.

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On the other hand, the Yankees are a perfect example of what happens when you buy ball players instead of creating a team.

They get old and expensive and there is no real team concept. Most Yankee fans would love to get rid of Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriquez and go back to the days of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams and Mariano Rivera.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays: Five Rays Who Have Shined in 2016

The Tampa Bay Rays must keep this in mind and not get stuck on trying to win with rent-a-players. True teams are built from within and this weekend gave fans a short glimpse of how a good team plays and wins.

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