Tampa Bay Rays Opening Day Countdown: 9 must-watch series

Opening Day is rapidly approaching and we are counting down the days at Rays Colored Glasses. We are 9 days away, so let’s look at 9 series we should watch and attend this season.

#1: Opening Series: March 28th-31st

There isn’t a better way to open a highly anticipated season than to start by playing one of the best teams in the sport. The Houston Astros will travel to the home of the Tampa Bay Rays to open the 2019 season by sending Justin Verlander to the bump on Opening Day to face Blake Snell. It will be Cy Young versus Cy Young runner-up so get the popcorn ready.

Charlie Morton will face his former team taking the mound in game 2 of the series. While it is only the first series of the year, these are some games the Rays have their eyes set on as they look to make a statement early on.

#2: Away versus the San Francisco Giants: April 5th-7th

A highly anticipated series against the Giants will take place early this season. After opening the season at home with a pair of series against the Astros and Rockies, the Rays will head to the west coast for some baseball versus Evan Longoria’s Giants.

Evan Longoria isn’t the headline though this season, instead all attention will be focused on the Tampa Bay Rays use of the opener. Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija of the San Francisco Giants have made it very clear that they disapprove of the Rays use of the opener.

As it stands right now, at least one opener could face the Giants. It would be rather ironic if the Rays scored a couple of runs in the first inning while Ryne Stanek shut down the Giants.

#3: Home against the Red Sox: April 19th-21st

The Tampa Bay Rays will open AL East play with a three game set against the defending World Series champions. In what is expected to be a season long battle for supremacy in the east, no games can be taken for granted. If scheduled to pitch, Blake Snell will look to continue his dominance against the Red Sox that he enjoyed last season. Regardless, games against the Red Sox and Yankees never disappoint.

#4: Home against the Blue Jays: May 27th-29th

While the Blue Jays might be rebuilding, this series may provide Rays fans with a chance to see Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the first time. The best prospect in baseball should be in a major league uniform by the end of May and while this series may not have huge ramifications, seeing the highly talented son of a hall-of-famer should be on everybody’s to-do list.

#5: Home against the Twins: May 30th-April 2nd

The Minnesota Twins will be an interesting team to watch all year as they plan on contending in the AL Central. While they might not catch the Cleveland Indians, Rocco Baldelli’s Twins may challenge the Rays and Athletics for the coveted second wild card spot. With that being said, each and every game against the Twins counts.

Plus, on Saturday you can go home with a Tommy Pham bobblehead.

#6: Home against the Angels: June 13th-16th

The Angels seem like possible contenders for wild card spot but they don’t pose as big of a threat as the Twins. More importantly, this series is the first time that you can go to the Trop and get to watch baseball’s first 400 million dollar man, Mike Trout. If I’m in town I never miss a chance to go watch the best player in the sport compete.

#7: Home against the Yankees: July 4th-7th

Independence Day fireworks may not be the only fireworks Rays fan see prior to the all-star break.  As is always true, the Tampa Bay Rays will need to finish strong into the break. This season they will be faced with a four game set with the rival New York Yankees as they eye a 4 day break. Winning this series will set the tone for the second half of the season.

#8: Home against the Red Sox: September 20th-23rd

The final 9 games of the season will come against AL East foes. During 6 of the games, the Rays will battle the Red Sox and Yankees. All 6 of these games could prove to be pivotal and may decide not only the division but also both wildcard spots.

They will face the Red Sox 4 times and if the East is as tight as many expect it to be, this series may push one team over the edge for a division crown or home field advantage in the wildcard game. We could see Snell vs Sale and Morton vs Price to decide the division…what a series this could be!

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#9: Home against the Yankees: September 24th-25th

Similar to the Red Sox series above, this final showdown with the Bronx Bombers could decide the division or wildcard race. Just imagine Blake Snell taking the mound to clinch the division or home field advantage in the wildcard game. These two games could be truly thrilling and extremely impactful.