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My Two Cents Rays Performance Against AL

    • 213 posts
    December 4, 2022 6:24 AM EST

    MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. In the past week, the Tampa Bay Rays have wrapped up their season series with both the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox, and it did not go well.They lost all four series, finishing 2-4 against both of them. And that's not good.The Rays know what it's like to do battle with their free-spending brethren in the American League East, because they've been doing that for 25 years. The division is loaded and almost always has the best overall record in the league.This year is no different. The New York Yankees (44-16) have the best record in baseball, and if the new six-team AL playoffs started today, FOUR of the six teams would come from the AL East, the Yankees, Rays, Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox.AL East teams are a combined 43 games over .500 through Sunday. The AL Central? Their five teams are a combined 24 games under. 500, a ma sive swing.Timing is everything a lot of times, and the Rays, who have pitched well all season, caught the Twins' hitters on a heater this weekend. They've been pounding everyone lately, and they thumped the Rays for 15 runs in the first Tommy Doyle Jersey two games of this series. They scored 18 in the final two games at Tropicana Field in early May. It wasn't until Jeffrey Springs shut them Jamison Crowder Jersey down on Sunday in a 6-0 Tampa Bay win that the Twins hitters didn't stay on fire.Minnesota is leading the AL Central by three games over Cleveland and six games over the White Sox, who were the heavy preseason favorite. But the Rays, who are nine games behind the Yankees in the AL East, would actually be leading the Central by a game if they were in that division.Scroll to ContinueThe Twins have looked good against the Rays, but they've proven often this season that they're beatable and that's an opportunity the Rays let slip away. The Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals, for instance, are bottom of the barrel teams in the American League, but the Twins just went 3-7 against them in a 10-game stretch.The White Sox are an even more glaring i sue of an opportunity gone awry. They took two of three from the Rays in Chicago in mid-April and then lost eight straight games. They won two of three in St. Pete last weekend, but have finished out this week losing four of five games. They are 27-31 on the season, and reeling.To keep their proper place in the pecking order for playoff spots, the Rays have to do better in their remaining games against AL Central foes. They did sweep Detroit at home earlier, and are currently 5-4 vs. the AL Central. Here's what's left:July 22-24 at Kansas City (3 games)July 29-31 home vs. Cleveland(3 games)Aug. 4-7 at Detroit (4 games)Aug. 18-21 home vs. Kansas City (4 games)Sept. 27-29 atCleveland (3 games)Obviously, what the Rays do against their AL East colleagues always matters the most because they play so much, 19 times against each opponent, 76 in total out of the 162 games on the schedule. They have 24 division Matt Milano Jersey games between Tuesday when they play their first series of the season against New York at Yankee Stadium through the All-Star break, when the first half of the season ends on July 17.In those five weeks, the Rays play the Blue Jays five times, the Yankees and Orioles six times, and they have seven games with the Red Sox. So we'll know a lot more about how good this team is by then.The Rays, like most big-league teams, measure their seasons one series at a time. So losing all four series to the Twins and White Sox was certainly disappointing. At least other things like the 7-1 record so far against National League foes help the Rays sit pretty at 10 games over .500 right now.The NL Central which is even worse than the AL Central are Tampa Bay's cro sover teams this season. There are interleague games coming up too, three with Pittsburgh at home on June 24-26, two with Milwaukee on June 28-29, and a three-game road trip to Cincinnati July 8-10.Related stories on Rays baseballSPRINGS RESCUE RAYS (Sunday): Tampa Bay starter Jeffrey Springs had his second straight scorele s outing, helping the Rays snap a four-game losing streak to the Minnesota Twins on Sunday with a convincing 6-0 win. Springs now has the lowest earned run average in the majors at 1.45.GRAND SLAM DOOMS BAZ IN DEBUT (Saturday): Tampa Bay right-hander Shane Baz threw two perfect innings in his 2022 debut on Saturday at Minnesota, but then it all went wrong in the third inning, where he gave up five runs. The Rays couldn't recover and lost for the second straight day, falling 6-5 to the Twins. TWINS THUMP RAYS (Friday): Minnesota standout Byron Buxton hit two more home runs Friday night Boogie Basham Jersey in leading the Twins to a 9-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. He's now hit five homers in three games, and the Twins have scored nine runs against Rays in three straight games now. KITTREDGE OUT FOR YEAR: For a team that relies on its bullpen so much to get big outs, losing veteran closer Andrew Kittredge for the season is a huge blow to the Tampa Bay Rays, Inside The Rays publisher Tom Brew says. Kittredge has gotten a lot of big outs the past several years and was even an All-Star a year ago. He will be mi sed Buffalo Bills Hoodies Sweatshirts now that he's out of the mix for at least a year after requiring Tommy John surgery. McCLANAHAN BEST PITCHER? In every start since April ended, when Rays left-hander Shane McClanahan takes the mound, the Rays win. He's 6-0 in his last seven starts with a nasty 1.19 ERA. So it's very safe and very clear to say that Shane McClanahan just might be the best pitcher in baseball right now. He looked the part for sure in Thursday's win over the Cardinals. TOM BREW COLUMN: Moving Jeffrey Springs into the rotation just might be the best move the Rays have made all year. Here's Tom Brew's column on the standout left-hander who has adapted to his new role well. RAYS 2022 SCHEDULE: Here is the Rays' complete schedule for 2022, with results and stats thus far, and gametimes and locations for the rest of the year.