Oakland Athletics at Tampa Bay Rays: A historic 6-0 start
By Austin Hart
The Tampa Bay Rays (6-0) are back in Florida for a seven-game homestand that gets begins tonight against the Oakland Athletics (2-4). The Rays have already set a franchise record with six straight wins to open up a season and have become the first team in seven years to complete the feat.
Red hot is certainly one way to describe how this season has started for the Tampa Bay Rays as they currently remain as the only undefeated team in the MLB. In two consecutive sweeps of the Detroit Tigers and Washington Nationals, the Rays have outscored their opponents 44-13 and have won every game by at least four runs.
Tuesday was a thriller as the Rays headed into the ninth inning down a run and pulled off an incredible rally that saw Luke Raley, Josh Lowe, and Yandy Diaz all leave the yard. It's easy to see the grit and heart that this team plays with, fighting all the way to the end and earning everything in their victories. Wander Franco also leads the team with an outstanding .417 average through six games to go along with two home runs and seven RBI.
The Athletics, on the other hand, have not quite been a team to rave about so far this season. They've dropped both of their series to open the season and now must travel across the country to face one of the hottest teams in the league right now. Their pitching staff has an abysmal combined ERA of 5.79 while their offense has struggled to contribute as well, just barely hitting above .200 as a team at .201.
A bright spot may be the fact that they took the Cleveland Guardians to extra innings twice and were firmly in the ballgame both times, but failed to close the deal as they dropped both games. The Rays will have to keep their foot down on the gas pedal with the struggling Athletics coming into town, hoping for another series sweep.
Athletics vs. Rays: Game times and probable pitching matchups:
- Friday, April 7, 6:40 p.m. ET -- Ken Waldichuk (0-1, 9.53 ERA) vs Zach Eflin (1-0, 1.80 ERA)
- Saturday April 8, 4:10 p.m. ET -- Shintaro Fujinami (0-1, 30.86 ERA) vs Jeffrey Springs (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
- Sunday, April 9, 1:10 p.m. ET -- James Kaprielian (0-0, 9.00 ERA) vs Drew Rasmussen (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
- Rays -- No injury news.
- Athletics -- SP Paul Blackburn will be making a rehab start on Friday for Low-A Stockton, per Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle.