Tampa Bay Rays Match MLB’s Best Start

Tampa Bay Rays Match MLB's Best Start
(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Rays are on fire as they won another game to match MLB’s best start of the Wild Card era this past Sunday. Nine games played and nine wins. That start matches the Kansas City Royals of 2003 for the best streak to start a season. Then on Monday, they won again and are now at 10 straight. Next up is the record of the 1981 Oakland Athletics, who won 11 straight. After that, both the 1982 Atlanta Braves of the NL and the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers of the AL each had thirteen wins to start the season. The seasons of the 1981 A’s, 1982 Braves, and 1987 Brewers were all prior to the Wild Card era.

Winning in Dominant Fashion

The Tampa Bay Rays match MLB’s best start—and they are winning in dominant fashion. They have won all their games by at least four runs or more and have outscored their opponents by a 76-18 margin. They are doing this with spectacular pitching and surprising home run power.

Early Season

Yes, it is early in the 2023 MLB season, but the Rays already lead of all baseball in home runs, RBIs, and total bases. Nine players have multiple home runs through these ten games. The home run power is somewhat of a surprise because a concern for the team coming into this season was their possible lack of power, specifically a hitter that could beat opposing teams with the home run ball.

Must Mention

We must mention that their winning streak has come against teams predicted to finish in last place and battle one other for the number one pick in the 2024 MLB draft, namely the Detroit Tigers, Athletics, and Washington Nationals. In order to get to the playoffs, you must win against the teams you are expected to beat.

Team Chemistry

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The Rays have a driven attitude and strong team interaction among all the players on the roster. Manager Kevin Cash is a great communicator and gets his team to compete at a high level. They have that “next man up” state of mind. Any player on the roster is ready to step up and play a vital role when called upon. They have a “team-first” approach where individual personalities are put aside for the team’s greater good.

Many Players Contribute

This team is winning with everyone, including starting pitching, bullpen, and offense. Starting pitchers Zach Eflin and Shane McClanahan are setting the pace by having quality starts.

Having shortstop Wander Franco healthy certainly has been an asset for them to start the season. The team seems to play better when he is in the lineup.  He was limited to 83 games in 2022 due to lower-body injuries and a fractured hamate. He is one of several hitters the team is counting on to bounce back or break through this year, improving a lineup that struggled down the stretch last season.

Exciting Times

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The Tampa Bay Rays match MLB’s best Wild Card era start, and things are exciting right now. This team has renewed optimism, especially after last year’s devastating playoff exit. With this lineup, they have the ability to win games and battle for a playoff spot while having a small payroll.

The Rays will be battling the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays for the AL East crown all season. They’re looking to make the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. Having this remarkable start to the season gives them great confidence and this will only help them as the season progresses.

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James Marshall

James Marshall

Jim Marshall has lived in Phoenix, AZ for 50 years. He is an avid baseball fan, but enjoys all of Arizona's local sports teams, including Diamondbacks, Suns, Cardinals and Coyotes. In addition to the four major sports, he closely follows the Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Rattlers and Arizona State Sun Devils. Jim's passion for baseball continues beyond the field as he is an avid collector of baseball memorabilia. His favorite athlete of all time is Baseball Hall of Fame member Harmon Killebrew. In addition to watching, reading and talking about sports, he takes time to travel and appreciate the great state of Arizona with his lovely wife, Patti.

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