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The Rays continue to compete

The Rays have a +17 run differential after May 17, 2015. By comparison, that was a -17 after May 17, 2014.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays ended their three-game set with the Twins on a high-note, by demolishing Minnesota to the tune of an 11-3 score. The team collected a season high 19 hits although, interestingly enough, only four went for extra-bases — all doubles. That is, the meat of the production came on 14 singles and three walks.

It was particularly nice to see Evan Longoria and James Loney drive in six total runs (three apiece) on six combined base-hits. Neither attempted to over swing or do too much, rather they were given scoring opportunities and did what was expected of them. See ball, hit ball as it were. Consider Sunday’s game the yin to last Monday’s yang. After all, the Rays did to the Twins what the Yankees did to Tampa Bay almost a week ago — put up 11 runs.

The team now owns a 21-18 record with a run differential of 17, seated just one game out of first place in the AL East. Juxtapose that with the 2014 Rays, who posted a 16-23 record after 39 games, along with a gaudy -17 run differential.

Next stop Atlanta, where the Rays are set to start a two-game, intraleague series against the Braves on Tuesday. They’ll follow with a four-game set against the West Coast Rays...urm, Oakland A’s on Thursday. Since Tampa Bay won’t be playing the Yankees or Red Sox, I fully anticipate crowds greater than 14,000.

I digress.

Additionally Speaking

— And here I thought Chris Archer got the flu started in the clubhouse with his gutsy performance back on April 26th.

— The newly reactivated Jake McGee breezed through his seventh inning appearance on Sunday, ringing up a pair of batters and coaxing a foul-out. Among his efficient 14 pitches (nine for strikes), McGee mixed in two curveballs. The lefty told the media it was comforting to know he hit 97 mph several times:

It was good to get out there and feel good and throws strikes and get ahead of guys.

— Matt Moore’s return is imminent! Moore will throw a simulated game in Port Charlotte on Monday, which should be his last batting practice outing before an extended spring game then a rehab assignment.

— According to Beyond the Boxscore, the Rays rank third in baseball by FIP-

— In addition, Jake Odorizzi is the fifth best pitcher in baseball by, you guessed it, FIP-

— Your tweet of the week goes to Empty Seats Galore: