The longer the Tampa Bay Rays can lengthen their season-opening profitable streak, the extra baseball followers will be taught concerning the St. Louis Maroons.
The rollicking Rays beat the Boston Red Sox, 9-7, Wednesday for his or her twelfth consecutive win to open the season, yanking the eye of the baseball world away from rule adjustments and tempo of play and refocusing it on the most effective begins to a season because the nineteenth century.
The Rays, who play Boston once more on Thursday, are one win away from matching the fashionable report of 13 consecutive victories to open a season, set by the Atlanta Braves in 1982 and equaled by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1987.
Tampa Bay’s 12 straight victories have additionally tied the Rays’ franchise report for consecutive wins at any level in a season, which that they had beforehand set from June 9-22, 2004, when Lou Piniella was the supervisor.
“Congrats to the blokes,” Manager Kevin Cash informed reporters in St. Petersburg after Wednesday’s sport. “That’s fairly superior. We’re doing one thing that’s fairly significant and impactful.”
Wednesday’s sport was additionally the Rays’ twelfth consecutive win over Boston at Tropicana Field, a interval of dominance relationship again to final yr.
If Tampa Bay wins once more on Thursday afternoon to tie the fashionable report, the subsequent longest streak in view can be the longest within the main leagues, which have an official historical past that stretches throughout components of three centuries.
The prime mark to start out a season was the 20 consecutive wins reeled off by the 1884 Maroons, a group within the Union Association that included star outfielders like Buttercup Dickerson and Orator Shafer. St. Louis completed the UA’s solely season with a 94-19-1 report, 25 extra wins than the Cincinnati Outlaw Reds, who had the second most.
The data-reliant Rays, who’ve made it to the postseason in every of the final 4 seasons, and received the American League pennant in 2020, have lengthy been characterised by continued success regardless of their low participant payrolls and their outdated domed stadium with modest attendances. and revenues. In the extremely aggressive American League East, with perennial powerhouses just like the Yankees, the Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays, the Rays have uncovered and developed wonderful gamers, and have turned that into constant success. But nothing like this present run.
Granted, their early schedule has not been taxing. They have confronted Detroit, Washington, Oakland and Boston, 4 groups with low expectations. But Tampa Bay isn’t the primary group within the 123 seasons of the so-called trendy period to ease into the season with a comparatively gentle opening slate, and solely three groups have ever began off 12-0.
Going again to the nineteenth century, the ’84 Maroons, who went on to briefly be part of the National League after the Union Association shut down, outscored their opponents by a median of 4.1 runs a sport, in line with Baseball Reference. The Rays are profitable, on common, by 5.4.
The Rays have solely had a single one-run sport this yr, and earlier than Wednesday that they had received 10 of their first 11 by at the least 4 runs.
They took down the Oakland A’s by 11-0 on Saturday. For those that missed it, Tampa Bay offered an encore the subsequent day with a duplicate. Two 11-0 wins in a row over the identical group.
The Rays have hit extra dwelling runs (30) than they’ve given up runs (27). Just two weeks into the season, they have already got 10 gamers with at the least two dwelling runs and 7 with at the least three.
Not surprisingly, the Rays lead the majors in runs scored, whole bases (230) and on-base plus slugging share (.945). Also not stunning, their pitchers lead baseball in earned run common (2.17) and are tied with the Minnesota Twins for lowest batting common in opposition to (.194).
“As far because the pitching goes, the general execution has been fairly outstanding,” Cash mentioned.
The pitching success has been achieved with out the assistance of Tyler Glasnow, who has been out with an indirect pressure. Zach Eflin, one other prime starter who signed with the group as a free agent this low season, received his first two begins however was positioned on the injured record with decrease again tightness. That offered a gap for Taj Bradley, a prime pitching prospect, to make his main league debut Wednesday on his mom’s birthday.
Ana Mosley watched and cheered from the stands as Bradley threw 5 robust innings for the win, permitting three runs, 5 hits and a stroll and putting out eight. Bradley, a right-hander, was notified Tuesday of the call-up from the Class AAA Durham Bulls, and had one hour to pack and get to the airport for a flight to Tampa amid a rush of exercise and telephone calls.
He pitched via the primary inning like a 10-year veteran, however when he returned to the dugout, the long-awaited second briefly overwhelmed him.
“After the primary inning I obtained fairly emotional,” he mentioned in an interview with WDAE, the Rays’ radio broadcaster. “I needed to cowl my face with a towel. I had some tears going. After getting out of that first inning, I used to be excited, man. It’s a dream come true, a childhood dream come true.”
Randy Arozarena, the Rays’ slugging left fielder, hit his third dwelling run of the season on Wednesday, and shortstop Wander Franco was 3 for five with two runs batted in and two runs scored, upping his batting common to .340. Franco has 4 dwelling runs.
“Wander’s on hearth proper now,” Cash mentioned.
The complete Rays group is sizzling, however a season-opening profitable streak doesn’t assure success. The ’82 Braves misplaced, 3-0, to the St. Louis Cardinals within the playoffs, and the Brewers received 91 video games, however completed third within the American League East and missed the postseason.
The solely certainty is that the Rays will ultimately lose. Not even the 1884 St. Louis Maroons have been invincible.