Although no one can expect the Rays to keep playing at this pace-- I mean, a .737 winning percentage is equal to 119 wins in a full season, they are expected to do good things this year. In fact, Sports Illustrated, in their Baseball Preview issue, picked them to win the American League Pennant and then go on to lose the World Series to the Philadelphia Phillies. Sort of like a repeat of 2008.
It's a little early, but if the Rays keep playing to their potential, SI's prediction may not be too far from the truth.
- The Rays can hit: They lead all of MLB in RBIs (112) and runs (113).
- Carlos Pena is second in the AL with 18 RBIs so far. B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria are not to far behind with 15 and 14, respectively. All three are in the AL top 10.
- The Rays can pitch: Their 3.21 team ERA is tops in the AL.
- David Price and Matt Garza are both 3-1. No other team in the AL has two pitchers with 3 wins so far.
I'm not counting my chickens before they hatch just yet, but if the Rays can avoid major injuries and prolonged slumps, they should be the most exciting team in the American League this year. A repeat of '08 is quite possible, except this time, the Rays may just be the ones hoisting the World Series trophy.
So much for the quote, unquote, small market teams.
To be continued....
Photos courtesy of the AP