It has been very exciting in St. Petersburg for the Tampa Bay Rays this season and not only could they be buyers at the trade deadline, but they could return to the postseason if everything falls in place.
So far, the 2017 season has been an exciting one in St. Petersburg. For the first time in years, the Tampa Bay Rays could actually buyers at the trade deadline as they look to add a left-handed relief pitcher sometime within the next week or two.
The Rays also have a number of key players that will be returning at different times in August. Coming back first is the backup at first base Rickie Weeks, however, there is a possibility that he could be released or sent to Durham. Then after that left-handed relief pitcher Xavier Cedeno will be back to help the bullpen. Also coming back is starting center fielder Kevin Kiermaier who is badly needed since Colby Rasmus decided to quit playing baseball.
Matt Andriese will also be back and will be an improvement in the starting rotation. He is likely to replace Blake Snell in the rotation. Andriese was having a great year and had a record of 5-1 before he went down with the injury. Finally, Matt Duffy should return at some point this season, but then again might not. The players returning will help the Rays depth greatly and will help for the playoff push.
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With 69 games remaining, 35 are at home and 34 are away. This season they have fared well at home with a record of 27-19 (.587%). On the other hand, they have struggled on the road with a record of 22-25 (468%).
If they continue the same pace the Rays will finish the season going 36-33, which will give them 85 wins and that, would keep them in the Wild Card hunt. However, with the acquisitions and the injured players returning they should finish with more than 85 wins.
In their remaining games, there is a number against American League East opponents. The Rays have 10 games remaining against the Yankees with three of those at home and seven away. They have eight games against Boston left with five at home and three away. Against Toronto, there are seven games remaining three home and four away.
Finally, they face Baltimore 10 more times with six of those games at home and four of away. The positive about facing Boston and the Yankees so many times is that the Rays have the chance of winning the division in their own hands and don’t have to count a ton on other teams.
Tampa also has a number of games remaining against other teams competing for one of the Wild Card spots. They have three games in Kansas City who has been a hot team lately. For the remaining Wild Card teams the Rays face all of them at home with three against the Rangers, three against the Twins, four against the Indians, and three against the Mariners.
All in all, it looks like the Rays will finally end their playoff drought. With a lefty reliever added and key players returning the roster will be ready to make noise in the postseason. Also facing other Wild Card teams at home benefits the Rays in that regard.
Also facing all the American League East teams so much more gives the Rays a good chance to win the division, currently only three games out of the division lead makes winning the division a reasonable goal.