There is plenty to smile about this season if you are a fan of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays will be entering the 2014 season with arguably the strongest and most balanced roster that they’ve ever had. Their main strength is their pitching; both the starting rotation and bullpen appear to be some of the league’s bests. In addition to this, the Rays have a very good defense, as well as a solid lineup. The level of talent on this ball club has been displayed throughout Spring Training, and there have been a lot of good signs coming in the month prior to opening day.
The Rays have had one of the best Spring Training records in the league so far, going 11-4 with two ties in their first seventeen games. A team’s record in Spring Training does not necessarily mean anything in regards to regular season success, yet it is still a positive sign that both the team’s starters and backups are playing good baseball in the month of March.
Of the eleven victories that have come in the past few weeks, Sunday’s 8-4 win against the Boston Red Sox was one of the most rewarding. David Price looked like the ace that Rays’ fans are hoping will be a crucial part of a World Series run in the last year of his contract. Price pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs with three hits, a walk, and a hit batter. This was a double win for Rays’ fans, as they saw that one of their most valuable players appears to be in good shape to start the season, as well as the fact that the victory came against division rivals who also happen to be the defending World Series champions.
In addition to a strong start for Price, the battle for the Rays’ fifth spot in the rotation has been narrowed from four to three in the last week. The remaining contenders are veteran Erik Bedard, long-reliever Cesar Ramos, and potential future star Jake Odorizzi. Many on the team, including Price, feel that the competition is going to add to the strength of their already excellent starting rotation. In regards to the Rays rotation, the ace said, “I know anybody in the league would take any of us. We take pride in what we do. We work hard, we pull for each other. We have fun”. Regardless of the outcome of the battle for the fifth spot, the Rays are in very good shape come opening day.
With only two weeks until the start of the regular season, the Rays should have a very positive outlook for 2014. Although they find themselves in a tough division, this season’s club has the potential to have a very successful season. By having the combination of a balanced roster and one of the best managers in the game, things are looking really good for the Tampa Bay Rays.