The final games of the 2017 regular season are upon us. If the Rays are to make a run for the postseason, several players will have to play at the top of their game for the coming month. It’s not unthinkable. Each successful Rays team (and even some less competitive teams) has had someone who has turned on the burners for the last month of the season.
Let’s look back at some of the top September performances in Rays history.
Carlos Pena - 2007
.318/.484/.795 with 13 HR (15 total XBH) over 27 games, 122 PA
Carlos Pena was incredible down the stretch for the Rays in 2007 and put up single-season records that have stood ever since. He breezed past the Rays prior single-season HR record and he ended up with 46 overall.
Ben Zobrist - 2008
.321/.426/.732 with 5 HR (12 total XBH) over 20 games, 68 PA
Prior to his breakout in 2009, September of 2008 served as a foreshadowing for the emergence of Zorilla. One of the many unsung heroes of the Rays magical run that season, Zobrist’s longtime slumbering offensive potential burst through as he became a force within in the Rays lineup and in typical Zobrist fashion, he played six different positions that month.
Mikie Mahtook - 2015
.353/.397/.706 with 6 HR (11 total XBH) over 27 games, 73 PA
One of the Rays top selections in the 2011 draft, he broke out during his September run in 2015. Unfortunately, that did not translate to a Zobrist-type transformation, as he could not come close to matching that 2015 performance the following year. Still, his flash in the pan of September was enough to excite Rays fans to give him the moniker ‘7-War Mahtook’
Evan Longoria - 2011
.289/.454/.589 with 7 HR (13 total XBH) over 27 games, 119 PA
Game 162, nuff said.
Well not really, Longoria was incredible for the Rays as he threw the team on his back and helped lead them into a position that made Game 162 possible. He drew an incredible number of walks (22.7%). Meanwhile, with runners in scoring position, he hit a robust .401 and slugged .963.
James Shields - 2012
1.97 ERA/2.61 FIP & 22.8 K%/5.3 BB% with 2 CG over 6 starts and 45.2 IP
James Shields’ swan song with the Rays was incredible as he dominated opposing lineups over his final starts in a Rays uniform. His last start in early October, he brought it all as he struck out 15 and tossed a complete game, but in poetic Rays fashion, Tampa Bay was shutout.
Fernando Rodney - 2012
0.00 ERA/1.69 FIP & 32.1 K%/8.9 BB% with 9 SV over 15 games and 15 IP
In 2012, Fernando Rodney had argubaly the greatest season for a reliever in baseball history as he was nearly unhittable. He put an exclamation on this as he didn’t allow a single run to score during the final month of the season and set a new franchise record for saves in a single-season while he was at it.
Rays September/October Records (min. 50 PA)
- OPS - Carlos Pena, 2007 (1.279)
- SLG - Carlos Pena, 2007 (.795)
- OBP - Carlos Pena, 2007 (.484)
- AVG - Carl Craword, 2005 (.371)
- Hits - Carl Crawford, 2010 (41)
- HR - Carlos Pena, 2007 (13)
- IP - James Shields, 2012 (45.2)
- SO - James Shields, 2012 (47)
- ERA - James Shields, 2007 & David Price, 2010 (1.64)