As we approach the end of the season, the Rays hold a comfortable 8-game lead in one of the toughest divisions in baseball. The AL East currently has 4 teams in legitimate contention for a playoff spot, but only 3 spots available. The Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Yankees are all only a game apart fighting for a Wild Card spot. 3 very good ball clubs are barely hanging on to playoff hopes. So how are the Rays so comfortably etched into this year’s postseason bracket?
The answer is consistency in every aspect of the game. For awhile now, the Rays have been a model of consistency throughout the league as they teach their players to play the game with great intensity and intelligence. The Rays seldom make the bonehead play whether it’s on the bases or in the field. They are also known to be a gritty and scrappy club that just “finds a way” to win. Rookie, Wander Franco, comes to mind as he has taken the league by storm with his incredible plate discipline and fiery mentality. At only 20 years of age, Franco is showing the poise of a seasoned veteran. Speaking of seasoned vets, the addition of Nelson Cruz has added some extra pop to the lineup. Nelson’s experience and professional approach to the game has helped the Rays tremendously both in the clubhouse and on the field. The great roster depth at this stage of the season will certainly be a difference maker in October.
With only 18 games left in the season, the Rays hold an 89-55 record. The franchise record for wins in a season is 97 which was made back in 2008. The Rays also won 96 games in 2010 and 2019. In order for the Rays to break the previous record, they only need to win 9 more games which allows for a .500 record the rest of the season. Considering the Rays hold a 26-13 (.667) record since Aug 1, they have a pretty good chance of making history and going down as the best team ever assembled in Tampa Bay.