It’s official. After ten weeks of grinding, the 2020 MLB regular season is over. And your Tampa Bay Rays are the best in the American League!
This season was full of its ups and downs for the Rays, but the team took them all in stride to finish the season with a 40-20 record. The highlights include taking eight out of ten games against the Yankees, and of course, winning the AL East pennant.
However, some of the lowlights continue to hinder the Rays. A slew of injuries forced the Rays to utilize a pitching staff and bullpen that certainly aren’t their best, at times. On the other side of the ball, the Rays are still missing Yandy Diaz and Ji Man Choi, two of the team’s most productive players.
Those issues made it necessary for the organization to show its incredible depth and managerial prowess. Manager Kevin Cash should certainly be in the running for AL Manager of the Year as he traversed this sprint of a season with many hurdles, only to lead the team to the best record in the American League.
The Last Week
The Tampa Bay Rays got off to a strong start this past week. They went to Citi Field in Queens to take on the Mets. The Rays ‘pen held the Mets to just one run, making two against Jacob deGrom would be enough. Rays win 2-1.
Blake Snell and Seth Lugo went head to head on Tuesday. Disappointingly, the Mets were able to get to Snell in his longest game of the season. He pitched five and 2/3 innings, allowing three earned runs. Mets take game two 5-2.
The Rays won their next to the last series on the backs of Tyler Glasnow and Randy Arozarena. Glasnow pitched six innings, striking out eight. At the dish, Arozarena went three of five with two homers. Rays win 8-5.
The Tampa Bay Rays got Thursday off before hosting the Philadelphia Phillies for their last series. Friday’s game saw Charlie Morton dominate with his offspeed pitches, racking up eight strikeouts over five innings. Rays win 6-4.
The Rays cobbled together a bullpen day on Saturday that ended up working out in their favor. The different looks given by the different pitchers kept the Phillies off balance as the Rays got to starter Zach Wheeler. Rays win a close one, 4-3.
In the final game of the regular season, rookie pitching sensation Josh Fleming got the call. And boy did he answer. The first-year southpaw tossed six scoreless to record his fifth win of the season. Rays win 5-0 to secure the top spot in the AL.
Final AL East Standings
Tampa Bay Rays: 40-20 New York Yankees: 33-27 Toronto Blue Jays: 32-28 Baltimore Orioles: 25-35 Boston Red Sox: 24-36
Tampa Bay Rays Batter of the Week
.421/.476/.632, 8 H, 1 HR, 4 RBI
Joey Wendle is this season’s Ben Zobrist equivalent. Wendle plays at just about any position in the field and excels. He routinely shows off that you don’t have to be flashy to get the job done.
Wendle is well regarded for his pure hustle in the field and on the base paths. He went out and recorded 8 hits in just 19 at-bats, most of which were the result of his work out of the batter’s box. He also tallied a pair of steals over the week.
Tampa Bay Rays Pitcher of the Week
2 W, 9 IP, 1.00 ERA, 7 K
Fleming had himself a week on the mound. He started it off with a three-inning soiree against the Mets, but he was solid in those three. He allowed his only run of the week against the Mets.
He followed that up with a lights-out start against the Phillies to finish out the season. Over his six innings of work, he only allowed four hits, whiffing five in the process. Watch for Fleming to be an important pitcher in the postseason.
The Week (?) Ahead
With the end of the regular season comes the end of these weekly recaps. Instead, I’ll be putting out series-long recaps to keep tabs on how these Tampa Bay Rays are playing.
Their first matchup comes in the form of a best-of-three game Wild Card series. The Rays took the top spot and will play the Toronto Blue Jays, divisional opponents with whom the Rays have struggled against.
Game One will be held on Tuesday, and the Rays’ starter has already been announced. Blake Snell will take the mound against the Blue Jays to start the postseason. Snell has performed well against the Canadian club this season.
In his seven and 2/3 innings of work against the Jays, Snell allowed only two runs. We hope to see Snell build on his most recent start, his longest of the year, to minimize what the bullpen has to do.
Tyler Glasnow is expected to get the start in Game Two. He has not pitched against the Blue Jays this year, but his last few starts have been promising. He has pitched late into games and limited opponents to few runs on the board.
I am very confident going in, the Rays’ bats and arms are hot going into the playoffs; I expect a deep run this year. Rays Up!
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