The Tampa Bay Rays are the hottest team in baseball. After their 6-2 win against the Washington Nationals Wednesday Afternoon, the Rays improved to 6-0, the best start to a season in franchise history.
I know the season is still very young, as we are just a week into the 2023 season.
But the Rays have found their perfect blend of pitching and hitting to start the season 6-0 and open an early two-game on the New York Yankees.
The 6-0 start matches the 2016 Baltimore Orioles and is a franchise best for the Rays.
I wrote in my season preview that a healthy Wander Franco would pay enormous dividends for Ray’s offense, which is what has happened.
Rays Offense Is Off To A Great Start
Franco is hitting .417 with two homers and has driven in seven runs.
Tow rookies Luke Raley and Josh Lowe have been early season surprises for the offense. Raley is hitting .308 with three home runs, while Lowe is hitting .429 with a homer and three runs batted in.
Fresh off his WBC stint with Team Mexico, Randy Arozarena has brought his enthusiasm and moxie to the team. Arozarena has shined in the field and at the plate, hitting .364 with a homer and six runs batted in.
Last season, Arozarena did not hit his first home run until May 13th.
Yandy Diaz is off to a torrid start at the plate, hitting .417 with two home runs.
Rays Pitching Has Been Outstanding
The pitching we knew would be outstanding, and it has been despite the rough outing by Josh Fleming.
The Rays starters posted a 0.38 ERA through their first four starts. The Rays pitching staff is second in baseball with a 2.00 team ERA.
Fleming was lit up for five runs in three innings of work in his first start. I would expect him to get another start or two, but if he continues to falter, look for Luis Patino or Yonny Chirinos to get an opportunity.
Manager Kevin Cash has had difficulty finding anything to criticize this team about. “We should be very pleased with the way that we’ve played. (We have been very) consistent, defensively, and on the mound, and at the plate,”
Consider this impressive stat from the young season. The Rays have scored 44 runs and allowed just 13 in their 6-0 start to the season. That is a +31 run differential.
Last season, The Rays finished with a +52 run differential for the entire season, and that was good enough for a playoff berth.
Not a bad start for a team that many thought would miss the playoffs this season in the American League.
The strong start should continue for the Rays as they will host the Oakland A’s at Tropicana Field this weekend, followed by a four-game homestand with the Boston Red Sox.
Zach Eflin will Start for the Rays on Friday Night.