Tampa Bay is off to its best start ever (17-6) and the team’s outlook deserves much of the credit.
After the Rays’ breakout season in 2008, they stumbled a bit in 2009, caving under the pressure to defend their AL title. This year, it’s a whole new attitude, and a winning one at that, for the team that is no longer the bottom-dweller of the AL East.
The Rays lead the Yankees by 1.5 games (going into Saturday) and the Jays and Red Sox by 6. Baltimore seems to be playing caboose this year, way back (12 games out) and not looking to get better.
Veteran Carl Crawford spoke to the team on Friday and basically summed up the fact that these aren’t your expansion-era Rays. This team expects to win every day, and it’s been living up to that mantra.
Evan Longoria leads the league in runs and Carlos Pena is second in RBI. On the mound, Matt Garza is the first pitcher in the league to reach four wins. His 34 strikeouts tie him for second in the AL and his 2.06 ERA ranks sixth in the junior circuit.
They Royals snapped Tampa Bay’s six-game winning streak on Friday in their series opener but the Rays’ .739 won-lost percentage is still the best in the majors, followed by the Yankees’ .682.
This Tampa Bay team is legit and has a definite shot at returning to the World Series.
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Written by Stephanie Geosits