Finishing the year with 90 wins, the Rays had an expectation-shattering season in 2018, while also having one of the most fun seasons in recent memory. Let’s re-live the fun and take a look back on every win from the 20th anniversary season, starting with the first 15 wins.
(1-0) March 29: Rays 6, Red Sox 4
Opening Day. Rays down 4-2 in the eighth. Bases loaded, two outs, full count and Tampa native Denard Span is at the plate. Span went from 34-year-old hometown kid to hometown hero with a go-ahead bases-clearing triple, starting the season off with a bang and with a win.
(2-8) April 9: Rays 5, White Sox 4
Before the second win on the season, Sergio Romo and Blake Snell used the snow to keep themselves loose. The Rays battled through 35° South Side Chicago air to snap an eight-game losing streak, with Denard Span driving home the go-ahead run.
(3-8) April 10: Rays 6, White Sox 5
Followed by a bat drop, Carlos Gomez hit his second home run on the season, helping push the Rays past the White Sox to tie the four-game series. With 10 strikeouts, Blake Snell earned his first win on the season.
(4-12) April 16: Rays 8, Rangers 4
Scoring the 7th Rays run on the evening, CJ Cron hit his second home run on the season and helped give us one of the best camera shots from the year.
(5-13) April 18: Rays 4, Rangers 2
Following the lowest point on the season, the nine-under-.500 Rays won their fifth game, marking the beginning of an eight-game winning streak. Cron’s bloop single following Daniel Robertson’s triple ended up being the go-ahead hit to secure the Rays’ fifth victory.
(6-13) April 20: Rays 8, Twins 7 (F/10)
The walk-off replay review! Thanks to hustle from Johnny Field, renaissance LF Denard Span’s infield single scored the game-deciding eighth run in the bottom of the 10th.
(7-13) April 21: Rays 10, Twins 1
CJ Cron hit his third and fourth homers on the season. Daniel Robertson hit his second homer on the season. Denard Span had three RBIs. Blake Snell struck out six in seven innings of work.
(8-13) April 22: Rays 8, Twins 6
The Rays had the lead early, then they lost it. Then they took the lead back, then they lost it again. In the ninth, Carlos Gomez made sure the lead wouldn’t be lost again, walking it off with a 402 foot homer.
(9-13) April 25: Rays 8, Orioles 4
Alex Cobb was on the mound for Baltimore and the Rays tagged him for five runs. The native Floridians were having fun with each other at the end of the night.
(10-13) April 26: Rays 9, Orioles 5
The Rays scored the only necessary runs in the first three innings, with two of those runs coming from the bat of Wilson Ramos in the second.
(11-13) April 27: Rays 4, Red Sox 3
The Rays beat the Red Sox with four runs from three home runs and nine strikeouts from Blake Snell for his fourth win on the season.
(12-13) April 28: Rays 12, Red Sox 6
The ninth win in the early-season winning streak, many runs were scored in many different ways, but none were better than Denard Span’s inside the park home run.
(13-14) April 30: Rays 3, Tigers 2
CJ Cron hit his seventh home run on the season and Brad Miller hit the go-ahead home run, but Carlos Gomez had the highlight of the night.
(14-16) May 4: Rays 6, Blue Jays 2
Who doesn’t love insurance runs? Brad Miller’s two-run homer extended the Rays lead against Toronto in the eighth, scoring the fifth and sixth runs on the night.
(15-16) May 5: Rays 5, Blue Jays 3
Sometimes Carlos Gomez’ actions speak for themselves.
With many losses being racked up quickly in the early portion of the season, it was easy to imagine that the 2018 season would be one to forget for Rays fans. The first couple of wins showed that even though things weren’t looking up, the team was still having fun. The winning streak that followed was just a preview of how resilient this team was going to be all season long.
The next edition of the six-part 90 wins in 90 gifs will feature wins 16 through 30, including the first usage of the opener and Jake Bauers’ first MLB home run.