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Updates

(Tampa Bay Rays)

(Tampa Bay Rays)

2020 Season

Season Preview: The Rays look solid top-to-bottom in 2020 and should give the Yankees a run for their money in the AL East. They have a great mix of young and experienced hitters, and two amazing pitchers in Bake Snell and Tyler Glasnow. Infielders Brandon Lowe and Willy Adames make up one of the AL’s best all-around double-play combos.

2019 Season

Season Recap: The Rays kept the heat on the Yankees all year and ended up with a Wild Card spot. They defeated A’s and nearly upended the Astros in the AL Division Series. Austin Meadows had a breakout season with 33 homers and Charlie Morton was brilliant in 33 starts, going 16–6 with 240 strikeouts. In the end, it was the Rays’ scrappy play and “refuse to lose” approach that carried them to 96 wins.

July 15, 2019: Travis d’Arnaud became the first catcher in history to hsmashit three homers in a game as his team’s leadoff hitter.

Season Preview: Hardly anyone noticed that the Rays were a 90-win team in 2018. In 2019 they hope to add some more W’s with the help another big year from pitcher Blake Snell and contributions from new starter Charlie Morton. A lot of rookies suited up for Tampa Bay last year. This year, that experience should pay off.

2018 Season

Season Recap: The Rays exceeded expectations, winning 90 games. Their breakout star was pitcher Blake Snell, who led the AL with 21 wins and a 1.89 ERA. Beyond Snell, the team often threw multiple relievers instead of traditional starters. C.J. Cron led the club with 30 homers and Mallex Smith stole 40 bases and led the league in triples.

October 1, 2018: Nate Snell was named AL Pitcher of the Month for the second Month in a row. He finished the season as the league leader in ERA.

Season Preview: For the first time in a longtime, Rays fans will not be cheering for Evan Longoria, who was traded to the Giants. With Corey Dickerson also traded away, Tampa Bay’s offense will need big years from veterans Carlos Gomez, Wilson Ramos, Denard Span, and C.J. Cron. The team’s pitching is solid, with a young starting staff led by Chris Archer and a bullpen headed by Alex Colome.

2017 Season

Season Recap: The Rays played good ball in the first half, but 15 August losses dropped them into third place in the AL East. Four hitters socked 20-plus homers, including Steven Souza and Logan Morrison. Chris Archer struck out 249 batters to finish among the league leaders.

July 11, 2017: Corey Dickerson was the starting DH for the American League in the 2017 All-Star Game. Chris Archer was also selected for the All-Star team, but did not pitch in the game.

2016 Season

November 1, 2016: Tampa Bay brought up the rear in the AL East with a 68–94 record despite plenty of talent. The starting infield, led by Evan Longoria, slugged 100 homers. Alex Colome was one of the league’s best closers. But a 13–25 record against the Red Sox and Orioles kept the Rays in the cellar all summer long.

2015 Season

October 6, 2015: Tampa Bay got excellent years from Evan Longoria, Logan Forsythe, and Kevin Kiermaier, and found a young ace in Chris Archer. However, the Rays did not have the power or pitching to compete with the Yankees and Blue Jays for the division crown. They finished 80–82.

October 4, 2015: Reliever Brad Boxberger finished with 41 saves to lead the American League.

April 5, 2015: Manager Joe Maddon left the team to manage the Cubs and the great David Price is now a Tiger. Tampa Bay will need big years from two young stars—pitcher Chris Archer and outfielder Steven Souza—if they hope to compete in the AL East.

2014 Season

November 1, 2014: For the Rays to be successful, their offense had to fire on all cylinders. When it didn’t, the team fell out of the AL East race and traded its pitching ace, David Price. Ben Zobrist, Evan Longoria and Alex Cobb had solid seasons, while young prospects Wil Myers and Chris Archer showed flashed of good things to come.

April 19, 2014: Evan Longoria homered against the Yankees to become the team’s all-time home run leader with 164. Carlos Pena had held the record with 163.

March 31, 2014: In the super-tough AL East, the difference between first and fifth can be a couple of injured stars and a few unlucky bounces. Tampa Bay begins the year as the division favorite thanks to young stars WIl Myers and Chris Archer, and veterans David Price and Evan Longoria.

2013 Season

November 12, 2013: Less than a year after being traded to Tampa Bay for James Shields, Wil Myers was named 2013 AL Rookie of the Year. Myers did not join the team until June, but still led all AL rookies with 55 RBIs.

October 1, 2013: Tampa Bay looked to be on another miracle run at the end of 2013. They defeated Texas in a Wild Card play-in game and then beat the Indians to advance to the ALDS. Unfortunately, they fell to a red-hot Red Sox team in four games. This did not dampen an otherwise excellent year. After a slow start, the Rays surged into first place in August before slipping back into second. They got especially good performances from young pitchers Alex Cobb and Matt Moore, as well as Evan Longoria, who led the team in doubles, homers, runs and RBIs.

May 10, 2013: Alex Cobb struck out 13 batters in 4 2/3 innings against the San Diego Padres. No one had ever fanned that many hitters in fewer than 5 innings.

March 30, 2013: With the loss to free agency of B.J. Upton, Desmond Jennings will need to fill his shoes in center field. Most everything else stays the same in Tampa, where the Rays are older, wiser, and good enough to return to the World Series after winning their first pennant in 2008.

2012 Season

October 3, 2012: The Rays finished three games short of a Wild Card spot, but they sure made things interesting in the last two weeks. They won 12 of their last 14 games. An injury to their top hitter, Evan Longoria, slowed down the offense much of the year. The team’s pitching was excellent, with David Price going 20–5 and Fernando Rodney saving 48 games. Rodney’s 0.60 ERA was the lowest in history for a pitcher making 50 or more appearances.

April, 2012: Three players who were not on the Opening Day roster in 2011 should be fun to watch in 2012. Pitcher Matt Moore has the stuff to win 20 games. Left fielder Desmond Jennings has the power and speed to join the 30-30 Club. And slugger Carlos Pena is back after playing one season for the Chicago Cubs. How great is that!

More Go-To Guys

Julio Lugo is shown here in the team’s old green-and-white Devil Rays uniform. (Black Book Partners)

Scott Kazmir fires a pitch for Tampa Bay. He was a little guy with a big fastball. (Black Book Partners)

  • Rolando Arrojo — Pitcher
    Born: 7/18/1968
    Played for Team: 1998 to 1999
    Rolando Arrojo was Tampa Bay’s first All-Star. He had a 14–12 record in the team’s first season even though the Rays’ record was just 63–99.

  • Wade Boggs — Third Baseman
    Born: 6/15/1958
    Played for Team: 1998 to 1999
    Wade Boggs grew up in Tampa, so when he heard that his hometown was getting a new team, he was happy to finish his baseball career where it started. He collected his 3,000th hit in August of 1999 and retired three weeks later.

  • Julio Lugo— Shortstop
    Born: 11/16/1975
    Played for Team: 2003 to 2006
    Julio Lugo ranked among the leaders in doubles, triples, and stolen bases when he played for the Rays. He was also third on the team in home runs in 2003.

  • Rocco Baldelli — Outfielder
    Born: 9/25/1981
    Played for Team: 2003 to 2008 & 2010
    When Rocco Baldelli was signed by Tampa Bay as a teenager, some scouts compared him to Joe DiMaggio. He hit well as a rookie and led AL outfielders in assists in his first two seasons. Knee and elbow injuries slowed him down after that, but he was still on the team when it won its first pennant.

  • Scott Kazmir — Pitcher
    Born: 1/24/1984
    Played for Team: 2004 to 2009
    Scott Kazmir was a strikeout specialist. He led the Rays in K’s each year from 2005 to 2008 and was the American League leader in 2007. Kazmir was an All-Star in 2006 and again in 2008.

  • Jeremy Hellickson — Pitcher
    Born: 4/8/1987
    Played for Team: 2010 to 2014
    After Matt Garza left the Rays, fans wondered who would fill his shoes. Jeremy Hellickson got the job done. He went 13–10 with a 2.95 ERA in 2011 and was named AL Rookie of the Year.

  • Matt Moore — Pitcher
    Born: 6/18/1989
    Played for Team: 2011 to 2016
    Matt Moore was a busy young man in 2011. After pitching a no-hitter in the minor leagues in June, he was invited to play in the All-Star Futures Game in July. Moore’s “future” arrived in September when he was called up to Tampa Bay and struck out 11 New York Yankees in his first big-league start.

More Fun Facts

Rocco Baldelli watches a hit sail toward the outfield. (Black Book Partners)

  • WIN–WINN SITUATUOIN
    Shortly after the 2002 season, the Rays wanted to hire Lou Piniella to manage the team while he was still under contract to the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners gave their OK, but they asked for a player in return. The Rays sent All-Star outfielder Randy Winn. Winn went on to lead the Mariners in doubles in 2003.

  • HEAD OF THE CLASS
    Rocco Baldelli was one of the greatest student-athletes in history. He had a 4.25 grade point average in high school and was All-State in baseball, basketball, track, and volleyball. He turned down a chance to go to Princeton University to play pro baseball.

  • STARTING GUN
    Matt Moore’s second big-league start came in Game 1 of the 2011 Divisional Series against the Texas Rangers. He pitched seven innings of two-hit baseball in a 9–0 victory. No pitcher had ever started the opening game of a postseason series with just one major-league start under his belt.

League Leaders

Just one base to go! Carl Crawford looks toward the pitcher’s mound from third base. (Black Book Partners)

  • Home Runs
    2009 — Carlos Pena — 39

  • Batting Average
    No Ray has led the league in batting average.

  • Runs Batted In
    No Ray has led the league in runs batted in.

  • Stolen Bases
    2003 — Carl Crawford — 55
    2004 — Carl Crawford — 59

  • Wins
    2018 — Nate Snell — 21

  • Strikeouts

    2014 — David Price — 271*

    * Also played with Detroit Tigers

  • Earned Run Average
    2012 — David Price —  2.56
    2018 — Nate Snell — 1.89

Playing for the Championship

YEAR OPPONENT RESULT
2008 Philadelphia Phillies Lost 4–1

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