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The Rays are playing entertaining baseball

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In today's tank: Steven Souza, Kevin Kiermaier, Erasmo Ramirez, Drew Smyly, Josh Hamilton, and Kirby Yates

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The performance pulled up by the Rays recently has been eventful and tense, and particularly good television, with four wins in a row and two games won by a one-run margin against Toronto.

Tampa Bay sits now at the second place of the American League East, one game behind the Red Sox, and one over the Orioles and their Canadian rivals. Staying alive in April will be key, and thus far the team is keeping pace.

Last night, we saw the major league starting debut of Matt Andriese as he pitched through 3.2 innings, allowing five hits, two runs and striking out two. A somewhat okay beginning, which doesn't jeopardize his immediate future with the Rays.

As Erik Hahmann noted yesterday, Andriese surely have a future in the big leagues and most probably in the bullpen. If you missed it, Steve Souza also hit this bomb:

THIRD DECK.

There's that prodigious power.

On a more defensive note, Kevin Kiermaier also made a decisive catch in the ninth inning. Worth a replay, if only to watch KK shush the crowd after the play.

Here's the zoomed out perspective in gif form.

After the game, Kiermaier said of his acrobatics behind Kevin Jepsen on the mound that it was, "Kev's helping Kev's. The only way I wasn't catching that was if it left the park."

I'm sure Kevin Cash appreciated the win as well. Steve Geltz earned the victory, in front of his family who were in town from his home state on New York, and he was doused in a beer shower after the game.

Editor's note: There might have been only three runs combined scored in this game, but unlike last year this low scoring efficiency has had an air of entertaining baseball and incredible television. Perhaps it's that touch faster pace of play, but this team has been answering the call.

Since the first game of the season, the Rays have only lost two of seven, and each of those losses were by one run. Competitive baseball is all we can ask for, and in the last week it's been good fun.

Tonight, there is another debut as Erasmo Ramirez will start his first game for the Rays. He pitched two innings earlier this season as a reliever, in which he allowed six hits, seven runs and three walks - which stood in stark contrast to his Spring Training start earlier that week, which included two hits and six K's over four innings.

Hopefully the 24-year old righty will work his way through the Blue Jays lineup and help the Rays to continue their winning streak. As for Toronto, Mark Buerhle is scheduled to start the game, the first after his milestone victory against the Orioles where he reached the 200 wins mark. The lefty will get his second start of the season.

According to Kevin Cash and Jamie Ross from MLB.com, Desmond Jennings will not start tonight in the center field, as the Rays skipper wants to keep his players "off the artificial surface from time to time". Although not playing defensively, Jennings will remain on the lineup as the designated hitter. His career .409 average against Buerhle will certainly help his teammates to defeat Toronto.

In other news, Tampa Bay pitcher Drew Smyly continued his rehab with three scoreless innings with the Stone Crabs against Daytona.

Currently on his way back to the major league, Smyly has two more games scheduled on his rehab program before joining the 15-day DL. Drew Smyly also talked about his second start on 620WDAE as he called it a good "step forward".

"Last time I was in High-A, for Lakeland," Smyly laughed Tuesday after starting a mid-morning contest for the class-A Charlotte Stone Crabs against Daytona. "But it's good. Get up early, get after it, and head home."

"I'm just trying to get healthy," he explained. "They're setting the schedule to make sure there won't be any setbacks. For sure, [there will be] one more on Sunday, and after that maybe see how we feel, but it's not my call."

"They don't tell me [where I'm pitching]. They just say 'Hey, go pitch here' and I go do it," he laughed.

Links

- Former Ray Josh Hamilton could see his contract terminated or altered by the Los Angeles Angels.

- The Hardball Times takes a look back at Dwight Gooden historic 1985 season.

- Know Thy Enemy: Mookie Betts is becoming the new big thing, so Fangraphs couldn't resist to make a big article on him. Also, this fact is not fun.

- Baseball Prospectus on the early-season odds changers

- Ian Desmond is having a rough go on defense right now.

- And finally, Kirby Yates was optioned to Durham to bring up a fresh face in the bullpen. Using 40-man roster spots only, the pitchers available to replace him are LHRP C.J. Riefenhauser, and RHRP Jose Dominguez.