The Tampa Bay Rays (63-43) went 8-2 on their crucial ten game American League East road trip and will come home in first place in the division. This team has been on fire winning 18 of the last 21 games and only losing four in July. Tampa won their ninth straight series this weekend beating the New York Yankees on Friday and Saturday. On Monday the Rays collected the win and took first place in Fenway from the Boston Red Sox (63-44) due to the rainout on Thursday. Tampa was able to go into Fenway and snatch first place right from their hands as this was a intense battle for first place on Monday night.
David Price was on the mound on Monday in Boston. The pitching has been outstanding the last month with 6 complete games by the starting staff for Tampa Bay and three by David Price. Sean Rodriguez was able to double to right scoring Yunel Escobar in the fourth inning for the Rays to take a 1-0 lead. Wil Myers tacked on another RBI in the fifth inning making it 2-0. Price pitched seven strong innings only giving up one run. The Rays won 2-1 to take first place once again as the bullpen held it but it felt like some real postseason drama in the eighth and ninth innings due to Peralta and Rodney. Sam Fuld made a terrific double play throwing out the tying run at the plate in the eighth in a very close call.
On Sunday against the Yankees (55-50), Matt Moore struggled along with Jake McGee out of the bullpen. Moore gave up five early runs and McGee blew the game in the ninth and the Rays fell to the Yankees 6-5. Wil Myers had two homers though and has been on fire since the break seeing the ball very well. Myers had a three-run home run in the third inning to give the Rays a brief 4-3 lead then followed by a solo shot in the sixth inning to tie the game 5-5. Tampa couldn’t bring anymore runs in and the Yankees ended it in the ninth and Tampa Bay gave first place back to the Red Sox. The Rays collected 10 hits once again as this offense keeps on cruising.
Wil Myers has three homers in the Bronx and one being a grand slam. Will Myers continue to haunt the Yankees for his entire career? Rays’ fans certainly hope he can keep this incredible play up as he is in the conversation for rookie of the year with seven home runs and 27 RBIs and batting .328 in just over a month in the big leagues. The Rays have been on a real tear since he has been called up going (27-10).
On Saturday, Chris Archer was fantastic. Archer had a complete game shutout, only allowing two hits. Kelly Johnson got the bloop single to score Ben Zobrist as this was enough to take the 1-0 victory. The Rays stood alone in first place on Saturday heading into Sundays game but failed to keep it long as they lost on Sunday.
On Friday in New York, Jeremy Hellickson was on the hill. He pitched well only allowing only one run and working through six innings. The Rays’ bats came alive in the second inning and beat up CC Sabathia knocking in six runs in the second. The Rays collected 12 hits and took the 10-6 victory as the bullpen struggled for Tampa; giving up five runs. The Rays left on Friday with sole possession of first place in the American League East because the Boston Red Sox lost to the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.
The Rays head home to face the Arizona Diamondbacks (54-51) for a two-game series on Tuesday and Wednesday. This is a very unfamiliar team to Tampa Bay. The Diamondbacks are in second place in the National League West only 2.5 games back of the LA Dodgers. Evan Longoria and Wil Myers will carry at least ten game hitting streaks heading home to Tropicana Field. Roberto Hernandez will pitch on Tuesday followed by Jeremy Hellickson on Wednesday.
Hopefully Tampa can stay in first and not look back for the reason of the season but it will be a battle night in and night out. The offense is a motor, the starting pitching has been fantastic and the bullpen seems to be able to continue to get out of jams. Everything seems to be going the right direction with the postseason bound Rays as August is right around the corner.