Rays fans, if you have not checked box scores since the trade deadline, you would now see that the Rays are 17-9 since the Trade Deadline. In a lost season where it appeared that we were trading away some of our top talent actually allowed the hidden gems on this team to rise. For comparison, the Boston Red Sox are 17-8 and the Houston Astros are 14-10 since the Trade Deadline.
Obviously, this is not a large sample size but it is still should have us optimistic for the future. Looking at the Wild Card Race, the Rays are only 8.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot. It is highly unlikely that they will claim that spot this year, however, it is an attainable goal for next season.
The main takeaway for the month of September: THE WAIT IS OVER. THE RAYS ARE BACK. We have come back from worse this late in the season. It may seem dire and unlikely (which it is) but the Rays have done it before. Think back to the Red Sox 2011 collapse where we were able to make the playoffs when we were third in the East going into September. Be happy, be excited, and hope for playoff baseball in Tampa.
This team has been better than ANYONE could have expected going into the year. Looking at the roster before the season and after the torrid 3-12 start, it seemed likely that the Rays would end up in the basement with the Baltimore Orioles. Fangraphs has projected that the Rays will finish at 85-77. If that ends up being accurate, it would be the first 85+ win year since 2013 where the Rays were the AL Wild Card.
We need to enjoy the end of this year and hope for a collapse to sneak into the playoffs. If not, we should be very happy come this point next year.