To say that the Tampa Bay Rays are the surprise team in baseball so far in 2019 would be the understatement of the year.
The Rays have the best record in baseball at 23-13 and will host the hated New York Yankees in a big three game series this weekend.
It’s a big series for a couple of reasons. The Rays need to see how they measure up against their arch rival. The Yankees trail the Rays by 1.5 games in the AL east and have the third best record in the league at 22-15.
Considering how many key injuries the Yankees have had, it is quite the surprise that they are playing as good as they are. A lot of that credit should go to manager Aaron Boone for keeping this team focused and getting the best out of what some nights has been a Triple AAA line-up.
Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Dedi Gregorius, Luis Severino, James Paxton, Dellin Betances, Aaron Hicks, and Greg Bird have all missed significant time with injuries.
Friday night Tyler Glasnow who is 6-0 will take the mound for the Rays and the Yankees will counter with Domingo German who is 6-0. This should be a fantastic matchup.
On Saturday Blake Snell will pitch against C.C. Sabathia which has the potential to be another great matchup.
This series is a chance for the Rays to put some distance between themselves and the second place team and also a chance for the Rays to make a statement that they are going to be a team to be reckoned with the rest of the season.
The Rays have the best pitching in baseball with a 2.87 ERA, and the team closest to the Rays is Cincinnati with a 3.42 ERA. The Rays are ninth in offense with a .255 batting average.
With the Rays exceeding expectations on the field, the attendance has been an absolute disgrace. The Rays averaged just over 8,000 per game for a three game set against the Arizona Diamondbacks and are averaging 13,104 per game. That is embarrassing for a first place team.
There are more love bugs on the windshield of my car than there are fans in the stands to see the best team in baseball. What a shame.
The Rays will pad those number this weekend. Unfortunately the majority of people packing Tropicana Field this weekend will be those damn Yankee fans.
It was just two weeks ago that the struggling Boston Red Sox came to Tampa and swept the Rays. This team cannot let that happen this weekend.
The Rays need to win 2/3 to send a message that they are a team to be reckoned with.
These are the type of games that the Rays will be involved in as the season continues and more meaningful games will be played down the stretch.
This is a good test for the Rays. A test that they need to pass with flying colors.