ST. PETERSBURG — Remember this. Remember this now while the joy is fresh, and the memories are clear. Remember this before injuries, better competition and the reality of baseball ruin the vibe.
You have never seen anything like what the Rays have done in the first nine games of the season. I know this is true because Major League Baseball has never seen anything like what the Rays have done.
It’s not just that Tampa Bay is the first team in 20 years to open a season with nine consecutive wins. It’s the way the Rays have won. Emphatically. Uproariously. Entertainingly.
Each of the 12 previous teams to start a season 9-0 had close calls along the way. Six of them had extra-inning games. Eleven of them had a one-run game. None of them was even close to an average margin of victory of 6.3 runs per game.
“Unbelievable,” starting pitcher Drew Rasmussen said.
The Rays have hit 24 home runs and scored 75 runs. None of those other teams came close to matching that. The Rays have allowed 18 runs to score. Only two of those other teams managed to do better. It’s not any one thing. It’s everything.
“It’s insane,” reliever Jason Adam said.
Even if you dismiss the oddity of Tampa Bay doing this during the first two weeks of the regular season, it is still an unnatural number of beatdowns in a row. It’s been 84 years since a team won nine consecutive games by four or more runs at any point in a season.
“Everything is clicking,” manager Kevin Cash said.
Look, everyone in the clubhouse knows this is not sustainable. Everyone knows the schedule makers deserve an assist for offering nine consecutive games against Detroit, Washington and Oakland. But everyone in there also knows there is a unique blend of skill and depth on this Rays roster.
“When you’re rolling as a team, you just keep it going. You don’t question anything,” said second baseman Brandon Lowe, who has four walks, three hits, six runs and eight RBIs in his last nine plate appearances.
“You just show up and take care of business. It really just feels like we’re playing our game. This is exactly what we figured was going to happen when we got everybody back healthy.”
You figured this would happen?
“We knew we were gonna be good,” he said.
Yes, the Rays are good. They may even be great, although we are a long, long way from determining that.
The point is there are exceptional teams in every sport in every season, but the Rays are also inordinately entertaining. They can, of course, hit and pitch. But they also play great defense. And they are fearless on the bases. But they are also young and vibrant and appreciative of their opportunities.
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Read More: 9 wins, 9 romps. Baseball has never seen a team start like these Rays 2023-04-10 12:18:51