Stay Hot, Rays.
Everyone knew that the Tampa Bay Rays needed to start the 2010 season red hot in order to compete for a playoff spot. At 10-3, they sit atop the American League East with the best record in baseball.
But what’s most impressive is the four game sweep the Rays completed in Boston, the first in their history.
They outscored the Sox 24-9 and ripped their biggest investment, John Lackey. His line this morning was ugly (3.1 IP, 9 H, 8 ER). Josh Beckett was the only Boston starter to keep the Rays under control.
Carlos Peña and B.J. Upton continued swinging hot bats, both going deep multiple times in the series.
And if that wasn’t enough, the ever popular Pat Burrell got in on the action, going 5-for-13 with 3 extra base hits, including the game winning home run in the first game of the series. His batting average is up to a respectable .270.
Needless to say, this team is off to the fast start they hoped for. They look to prove that 2009 was the fluke, not 2008.
For the Red Sox, they’ll find a way to win. But they will have trouble playing catchup as the Rays did in 2009. They put their emphasis on pitching and defense in the offseason, yet they’ve struggled in both aspects.
The Rays, simply put, came ready to play. They are younger, healthier, more energetic and they are here to stay.
If they can take advantage of the less than challenging schedule these next two weeks, which includes three games against the struggling White Sox and seven games against Kansas City, they can establish a nice cushion going into the summer.
The Rays are once again ready to shine.