Watching Mo’s last outing at Yankee Stadium almost brought a tear to my cold, grizzled, Rays loving heart. He is a classy guy, and the Evil Empire really did an outstanding job handling his last 1-1/3 inning of work in the Bronx. That said, the Rays have now won 90 games for the fourth consecutive year (fifth out of six) while sweeping the Yankees in that Mall of America like baseball stadium for the first time in their 15 year career. Furthermore, Tampa Bay is riding high on a huge wave of momentum after sweeping two consecutive series, this time outscoring the Yankees 19-3. The pitching was outstanding, the Rays were able to mash the all important timely hits, and Tampa Bay looks primed for the postseason. Next stop Toronto, for the final three game series of the regular season. Tampa Bay Rays are hot at just the right time. Holding a one-game lead atop Cleveland for home-field advantage in the one-game wild-card playoff, their destiny is in their hands with three games left to play. Meanwhile, eight players from the Jays’ opening-day roster are finishing the season on the disabled list — not so good for a team projected to win an obscene amount of games in 2013.
The Tampa Bay Rays welcome the Toronto Blue Jays into the Trop Friday night for a three-game set on the heels of a big 7-1 throttling against the Mariners, Thursday night. Mired in a funk extending back 12-games, the Rays took the series from the Mariners after dropping two consecutive to the Diamondbacks and Dodgers. Tampa Bay upped their per game runs average back to 5.3, while the pitching — especially the bullpen — seems to be coming back around. In short, the series previous gave the impression that Tampa Bay is once again stabilizing, and none too soon — the Red Sox have dropped two in a row, and the Rays have been able to regain some ground in the AL East.
The Blue Jays were the hottest team in baseball the last time Tampa Bay faced Toronto. Tampa Bay snapped their 11 game winning streak in that series, effectively relegating the Blue Jays to the cellar of the AL East, and consequently harkening the start of a 20 game stretch where the Rays went 16-4, leading up to the All-Star Break. The Rays will try to continue their toasty ways with a deadly trio of hurlers on the mound — David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, and Chris Archer. The Rays are 7-1 when Price, Hellickson, or Archer has taken the mound since Price’s return from the DL, at the beginning of July.
It would be safe to say that Chris Archer needed a win Sunday. His last few starts — sandwiched between an excellent start against the Orioles on the seventh — left a lot to be desired. Archer seemed to be a bit over amped, and hadn’t been nearly as efficient as most knew he could, and should, have been. Archer quelled the fears of many a Rays fan Sunday, putting together an excellent 6 IP/6 H/1 R/1 ER/1 BB/4 K outing, leading the charge in a 3-1 victory against the Yankees. The Rays will use the accrued momentum when they return to the Trop Monday to take on the charging Toronto Blue Jays.
The Tampa Bay Rays ride into Toronto Monday on a huge wave of momentum, following the Rays 3-1 win against — and series sweep of — the Baltimore Orioles. Sunday’s match-up wasn’t a high scoring affair like the previous two games, however the Rays scored just enough to win the game, while Matt Moore shut the door on the Orioles in an excellent outing. Matt Moore became the second left handed starter age 24 or younger to start a season 8-0, following an outstanding 7.0 IP/5 H/1 R/1 ER/1 BB/3 K outing. The first pitcher to do so? Oh, just some guy named Babe Ruth.