Entering September, the Rays remain in the wildcard conversation. Those hopeful the team will make the postseason are probably holding their breath a little after the team goes 3-3 this week.
After one of the worst 30 game stretches in recent memory, Tampa Bay bounced back a little and went 4-2, winning back to back series for the first time in a very long time. It seemed as though the yips had been shaken off. Then this week happened.
The week started off with a third straight series win. That kept smiles on faces of fans and put a warm feeling in their hearts. Then the team goes 1-2 in Chicago and falls back to two games below .500. Now, fans are left scratching their heads, unsure of how to feel as we close in on the end of the regular season.
Coming off a series victory in St. Louis, Tampa Bay headed a relatively short distance for three games against the 2015 World Series Champion Royals.
Tampa Bay started the series off with a bang. Putting up 12 runs and keeping the Royals scoreless, Rays batters ran Ian Kennedy out of the game in under three innings. The shutout also gave Kansas City 43 scoreless innings, the longest streak since 1968.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 29, 2017
The long ball was a favorite of Tampa Bay at Kaufman Stadium. All together the Rays hit seven home runs while visiting, including two games with three each. Logan Morrison hit two in the series which was a homecoming match-up for the Rays first baseman. Lucas Duda, Brad Miller, Adeiny Hechavarria, Steven Souza Jr., and Wilson Ramos all joined in on the fun.
In two games, the Rays bullpen held the Royals from scoring. Matt Andriese returned from the 60-day disable list to pitch three scoreless on Monday. Alex Colome also extended his save lead with number 40 in the same game.
The Rays had 12 hits in game one of the series. Great number. What is not so great is that they managed just 13 in the final two games combined. Part of the low number stems from the 11 strikeouts they accrued in the game two loss.
A series win in a vital time is always going to be appreciated, by everyone. The third straight series win gives a morale boost to those in the clubhouse as well as those watching from the stands. Hope. Winning gives hope of an extended season, to everyone.
For the weekend, Tampa Bay traveled to the Windy City just as they did back in July. This time, they were playing the OTHER Chicago team, the one that doesn’t feature most of the their former teammates as well as the old manager. So how did they fare against the White Sox?
Blake Snell has been a completely different pitcher in the last couple weeks. To jumpstart the series, he picked up his third straight win after allowing one unearned run over 6.2 innings. Colome pitched a perfect ninth inning to pick up save number 41. Leading all of Major League Baseball in the category, Colome is closing in on Fernando Rodney‘s franchise record of 48, set in 2012.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 2, 2017
Morrison homered on Saturday, giving him six homers in six games. Number 35 on the year, its save to say he isn’t slowing down anytime soon…
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 3, 2017
The bullpen combined for seven total scoreless innings in the series. Steve Cishek made his 16th straight scoreless appearance during the series. Shrek has not allowed a run since being traded from Seattle in July.
Andriese struggled in his first start off the DL on Sunday. After holding the Royals scoreless in his return, Andriese allowed five runs on six hits while taking the loss in the series finale Sunday. After more than two months away, one can expect some rust to form.
The Rays were struck out 31 times in the series. That takes them to 1318 on the season, which is currently second in the majors only to Milwaukee, who has 1338 as of Sunday night.
The win Friday brought the team to 68-68, meaning the 21st time this season the Rays have been at .500. But, with Saturday and Sunday’s losses, the team goes back to two games below…again.
As if September wasn’t crazy enough, the Rays get to come home for just three games against Minnesota, before going right back on the road for three games in Boston. After that, a travel break as the Rays get eight games in ten days at the Trop. 24 games to play, here are the current wildcard standings….
Meanwhile, Back Home…
Unless you have been living under a rock for the last week and half, you are aware that Houston was just hit by a devastating hurricane that has caused over $160 billion in damage. Due to the storm, several sporting events had to be adjusted. The Houston Astros, who were set to play the Texas Rangers, realized they were a team without a home.
Love, Florida pic.twitter.com/6Yb8eWwcnh
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 29, 2017
The Tampa Bay Rays took that opportunity to step in and help in the biggest way possible. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, the Astros called Tropicana Field their home against the Rangers. All proceeds from ticket sales, parking, and concessions went to relief efforts for the Houston area.
We like to make our guests feel at home.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 30, 2017