The Rays Tank: One down, three to go

USA TODAY Sports

With last night's 3-0 win over the Red Sox, a half game is now all that stands between the Rays and the top of the American League East.

Throughout the course of a season, a team can cause a bevy of emotions.

Pure joy. Happiness. Hatred. Turn-your-ears-red-anger. Disgust. Love. Sadness. Genuine pain.

No matter the sport, when you're a true fan, the outcome of some days tends to rely on whether or not your team secures a win or a loss.

With these Rays lately, the positive emotions have surpassed any expectation held prior to this season.

They're 21-4 in their last 25 games. 21 and 4. The team has a 2.18 team ERA during that span. The last time the Rays lost to one of the top 29 teams in Major League Baseball? On June 28th, against the Tigers. The Astros, at 33-65, are the only team to beat the Rays in the last 20 games.

The Rays are now only the fourth team in the last 10 years to go 18-2 or better over a 20-game span.

Though it may only be a week past the All Star Game, the same team that was rolling along pre-ASG has continued their winning ways; providing Matt Moore the first complete game of his career, a two-hit shutout against the American League East leading, best record in the American League touting, Boston Red Sox. Those Red Sox are now only a half-game ahead of that pesky team from Tampa Bay.

Moore had a night.

Ian said it best in his postgame recap,

"Against the best offense in the major leagues by wRC+, and the team that sees the most pitches per plate appearance in all of baseball (4.05 according to FanGraphs, Rays are #17 at 3.83), it took Moore only 109 pitches to secure a shutout for the first complete game of his major league career. (That's 3.76 pitches per plate appearance, which would be sixth lowest in MLB, just above the Marlins, for anyone interested.)"

Now 14-3 for the year, Moore has won each of his last six starts, pitching to a 1.50 ERA and holding opposing hitters to a .143 batting average during that span. At 24 years and 34 days, Moore became the youngest Rays pitcher to throw a shutout since Wade Davis on September 17th, 2009 against the Orioles; and the first to do so by an opposing pitcher at Fenway since Roy Halladay on September 30th, 2009.

Per Jason Collette, prior to last night, the Rays had only managed 15 hits in 104 at-bats with runners in scoring position in their 12 games against the Red Sox this year. They only drove in 20 runs in those games, hitting a measly .144. Though the offense was not anything crazy last night, three runs on eight hits was all the Rays needed to support Moore's effort. Not to be lost in the game was Red Sox starter Brandon Workman, whose curveball and six innings of seven hit, two run ball intrigued Ian.

Another W added, and on July 22nd in the midst of an AL East only 10-game road trip, last night was just the type of game to bring a smile and good evening to Rays fans.

Links:

- Matt Garza moved on to the Rangers on Monday, as he was traded from the Cubs in a five-player package.

- Trade deadline watch from Jay Jaffe, observing where American League teams currently stand.

- Ryan Braun. No need to say more. But Jon Morosi dished it, no holds barred.

- Great moments in not ignoring A-Rod, whose evidence in the Biogenesis case is "far beyond" that of Braun's.

- RISP. Overused? Matt Snyder voices his frustration, and a plea to to end the obsession with the stat.

- James Shields ate baby food for the royal baby, because he pitches for the Royals. Totally normal!

- Don't be too disappointed, but Tim McCarver isn't entirely going away when he wraps up his postseason gig on Fox this fall.

- Former Ray Gabe Kapler wrote in WEEI about how players should be educated on advanced statistics, because they're now being evaluated on them, and they don't always know.

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