Despite the sour start to their most recent home-stand, the Tampa Bay Rays left St. Petersburg on a high-note, sweeping the highest scoring team in the American League in three games. They were also able to finish their most recent nine game home-stand with a successful 5-4 record — giving them a .500 home record for the first time this season.
Tampa Bay is now 11-8 and in the midst of a five game win streak. Next stop the Bronx, where the Rays are set to start a three game set against the Yankees on Monday.
Conventionality aside, I decided to call an audible and compare where the Rays currently sit — 19 games into 2015 season — with that of the previous season.
Note: the left value is reflective of 2014 while the right is reflective of 2015
Record: 9-10 vs. 11-8
Run Differential: +1 vs. +5
Runs Averaged Per Game: 3.95 vs. 4.30
Runs Allowed Per Game: 3.90 vs. 4.00
Offensive Line Through the First Month of Play: .
249 BA/.332 OBP/.379 SLG/.711 OPS/.318 wOBA/.287 BABIP/.130 ISO
.239 BA/.324 OBP/.398 SLG/.722 OPS/.321 wOBA/.289 BABIP/.159 ISO
ERA and FIP though the First Month of Play: 4.41 and 3.77 vs. 3.75 and 3.79
Longest Winning Streak: 4 vs. 5
Longest Losing Streak: 4 vs. 4
Times Shutout by Opponent: 3 vs. 2
Times Opponent Shutout: 1 vs. 2
Most Runs Allowed: 12 vs. 12
Most Runs Scored: 16 vs. 12
Number of Losses By Four Or More Runs: 5 vs. 3
Win Percentage vs. the AL East: .444 vs. .563
I'm not bold enough to make a proclamation that Tampa Bay is better off without Joe Maddon — 19 games does not a season make. What shown above is not a drastic difference. And that's not even taking into consideration how they've been massively short-handed from the get-go, topping out at 12 men on the disabled list. Remarkable.
After comparing apples to apples, it's also worth noting that the 2015 Rays are a much more competitive (and fun) team than the previous incarnation...
— Either Chris Archer was either really into his start on Sunday, or he wasn't feeling so hot:
Cash said Archer threw up in the dugout between innings. "We've got a nice drainage system." #Rays— WDAE 620 AM/95.3 FM (@620wdae) April 26, 2015
Chris Archer's FB up to 98.7, threw 30/45 for K. Slider was 91.3. Threw 24 of 33 for K. Then he throws 7 of 9 changeups for K?— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) April 27, 2015
Archer put up an incredible performance last night. Go read the full recap to learn more.
— Evan Longoria has reached base safely in his last eight plate appearances (seven hits, one walk). Longo can match Melvin Upton Jr. for the franchise record of nine with another hit or walk on Monday.
Longoria walks. Has now reached base safely the last eight straight plate appearances. #Rays— WDAE 620 AM/95.3 FM (@620wdae) April 26, 2015
— Blake Snell, meanwhile, has been killing it for High-A Port Charlotte, so they're moving him along!
— The Thrillist, surprisingly, ranked Tropicana Field ahead of Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Marlins Park, Petco Park, Minute Maid Park and four other stadiums in their ranking of every Major League Baseball park. Then again, O.co Coliseum ranked 13th.
— Injury update: After a great turn yesterday, Alex Colome could join the rotation by Friday when the team is in Baltimore. Colome earned the win in his rehab start on Sunday, posting an excellent 6 IP/4 H/1 ER/6 K line on an efficient 63 pitches (45 strikes). On a related side note, Jake McGee is slated to make the first of three rehab appearances on Tuesday.
— For those of you familiar with Vice, they feature a weekly column titled Cry-Baby of the Week. Although they don't typically feature Major League Baseball players, I can't help but feel former Ray Wil Myers might get the royal treatment if they did. Per Marc Topkin, Myers doesn't seem like he's quite over the trade which sent him to San Diego. Topkin wrote:
OF Wil Myers, who had a pretty good week for the Padres, needs to decide if he is or isn’t playing to show the Rays up for trading him. He was quoted by mlb.com’s respected Tracy Ringolsby last week saying, "Almost everything I do is to be able to prove them wrong." But the next day he sought out a San Diego writer to say, "It was completely taken out of context. Everything I’m trying to do is help the Padres win. It has nothing to do with Tampa this year." Okay, then.
— According to Thomas Duffy (Bleacher Report), Adrian Beltre is serving notice to any would be pitcher who might blowup his bat. Although Beltre is a millionaire 165 times over, he sent Garrett Richards a $300 invoice for three bats he broke Friday. Richards, in turn, sent him back a bat.
— Owen Watson (FanGraphs) wonders if the new turf at the Rogers Centre is really a problem?