Tampa Bay Rays poised

Tampa Bay Rays Poised for Potential Run

A team on the cusp of greatness for over a decade now, the Tampa Bay Rays have underperformed this year. It’s as simple as that. The offense has been abysmal at the plate. The normally dominant pitching staff has been mediocre. Key players have been hurt, come back, and been hurt again. But the team’s fortunes may be changing after their recent stretch of games where they showed glimpses of their potential.

The Tampa Bay Rays Appear Ready to Go On a Run of Wins


Better Late Than Never

After dropping the first two games of a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles, it appeared the Rays were destined to live in the AL East cellar this year. Down two runs late in game three, the Rays were mere outs away from being swept by the division-leading Orioles. That is until Rays centerfielder Jose Siri stepped up to the plate in the eighth inning.

With runners on first and second with no outs, Siri squared around to bunt on the first pitch from Orioles reliever Dillon Tate. Siri was unsuccessful in getting down the bunt and was instead given the sign to swing away. The decision proved to be the right one, as Siri laced a 3-1 pitch into right-center field, driving in two runs and securing a hard-fought win for the Rays.

A Favorable Matchup

Energized by the come-from-behind victory, the Rays headed to South Beach for a two-game Sunshine State series against the Miami Marlins. The matchup could not have come at a better time for the Rays, who have won six out of eight games against the Marlins since the start of last season.

The sparse number of Marlins fans who showed up for the games were treated to an offensive display by the Rays that has been sorely missed this year. The Rays scored nine runs in the first game thanks to a five-RBI night from second baseman Brandon Lowe. Yandy Diaz, Isaac Paredes, and Ahmed Rosario also contributed with multiple hits during the game. Even the slumping Randy Arozarena reached base five times, with a hit, two walks, and two hit-by-pitches.

The Rays’ bats stayed hot during game two, with Paredes hitting two doubles and driving in three RBIs. Brandon Lowe and Josh Lowe each added an RBI to help the team win 5-3. The game also marked the return of starter Zach Eflin from a three-week stint on the injured list. Pitching only four innings, Eflin’s return was pitch-limited but should give way to longer outings to help relieve pressure on the bullpen.

Tougher Challenges Ahead

While sweeping the NL-worst Marlins is good for morale, the Rays’ next 12 games come against opponents who are .500 or better on the season. It’s a tough stretch ahead but key Rays players have started to contribute in big ways. This is especially true for outfielders Arozarena and Siri.

Arozarena has had a down year by every offensive metric, but those days may be coming to an end. Over the last four games, he has hit .364 with a .632 on-base percentage. These are well over his season averages of .169 and .285, respectively, and may indicate that Arozarena has turned the corner.

Siri may not be lighting up the batter’s box on the same level as Arozarena as of late, but he has come through in clutch moments and made game-saving catches and game-winning hits.

Add the potential upcoming returns of infielder Taylor Walls and reliever Colin Poche, the Rays are getting healthy at exactly the right time. A Rays team at full strength has proven to be formidable and one riding a three-game win streak is even more of a handful. All seems to be going right for Tampa Bay and could see the team rattle off a string of wins in the coming weeks.

Main Image: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

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