The Tampa Bay Rays have become one of the best teams in the MLB in the past few years with their starting pitchers and hitters, but with 90 wins in the 2018 season, there was a lot to live up to in 2019. As the season got underway, the team certainly did not disappoint, with a number of highlights despite poor home attendance. In this article, we will be looking into some of the team’s best and worst moments in 2019.
Tampa Bay Rays Best and Worst Moments in 2019
They Won the Wild Card Game
Winning the Wild Card Game is an accomplishment in itself but it being a one-game playoff is what makes it even bigger. With over 54,000 people in attendance, Diaz hit two home runs to give them a commanding lead. Reliever Emilio Pagan then secured the final two outs for a 5-1 win over his former teammates.
The Rays Make It Back to the Postseason
As the postseason was on the line, the Tampa Bay Rays had a lot to prove, but with a 6-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, the Rays managed to clinch their first postseason berth since 2013. As the team was set to make the postseason for the first time in years, it was Tyler Glasnow who carried them to victory with 4 1/3 no-hit innings, making this one of the best games played thus far in the season.
This was a huge day for the team as well as the fans in attendance, allowing them to build on the high of their 90 wins last season. With this bringing the team to a new high, this was set to be an amazing season for them and the fans who support them. Heading into the next game of the season with a winning streak under their belt, the Tampa Bay Rays had all betting odds in their favor, as they were among bookies’ favorites. And what happened then?
When Avisail Garcia gets a hold of the ball with a good connection, it normally flies, but this hit was definitely one for the record books. With the blast from Garcia to seal the deal travelling a whopping 471 feet, this was the longest home run ever hit at Marlins Park as well as the longest hit from a Rays player this season. This was the boost the team needed to go ahead and win both games that weekend. However, this was about to change with the team seeing a losing streak of three games as they headed towards their series with the New York Yankees in early July.
The Walk-off Home Run
As the big series against the New York Yankees drew nearer, the team was in a slump, mired in a three-game losing streak. With the Fourth of July weekend series looking bleak for the Tampa Bay Rays, it was Travis d’Arnaud who delivered a stunning walk-off home run to halt the teams losing streak. Following this stunning walk-off, the 4-3 win over the New York Yankees was the new lease of life that the team needed to move forward in the season. This was the start of yet another promising round of games for the team, seeing them head towards a promising homestand during August and September.
Terrible Home Attendance
Despite being one of the best in the league, the horrible home attendance for the Tampa Bay Rays was worrying. With a small home crowd in comparison to the Los Angeles Angels, the team had a lot to prove, making this one of the most embarrassing moments for the team this whole season. Though this did continue in later games following a successful few games at the beginning of the season, this could have been an issue afterwards.
The Home Field Advantage
With a great first five months for the team, the three-series homestand was the penultimate game for the team to see them into high standing for the rest of the season. Though they struggled to gain momentum in the game leading up to the penultimate homestand, they swept the floor with the teams on the weekend of August 30th and September 8th to see them win the series against the Baltimore Orioles. In addition to this, they also won games against the Blue Jays and the Cleveland Indians, propelling them to the top of the wild card standings with 17 games left in the season!
However, this was not enough to win them the title, with the Washington Nationals taking home the World Series trophy, but could 2020 be the year of the Tampa Bay Rays? Only time will tell when Spring Training begins again on the 23rd of February against the New York Yankees.
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