Red Sox Standings Watch: Merry month of May has team on the rise
By Sean Penney
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays may be a fourth place team but they certainly aren’t playing like one. They are two games over .500, only a half game out of a Wild Card spot and they have equaled Boston’s win total with 29.
The Rays typically have a reputation as a light-hitting team but that’s not the case this season. Tampa is third in the league in runs scored this season and they lead the majors with 83 home runs. Seriously, the low budget Rays in their pitcher-friendly dome have become an offensive juggernaut.
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If you’re wondering how this could have happened, look no further than the breakout performance by Corey Dickerson. The 28-year old outfielder/DH is second in the league with a .341 average and fourth with a .992 OPS. He’s already halfway to matching his career-high in home runs with 12, which ranks ninth in the league.
Tampa has also received strong contributions from Logan Morrison (.249/.355/.554) and Steven Souza (.275/.381/.505). About the only lineup regular who has performed well below expectations is Evan Longoria (.242/.316/.419). If the three-time All-Star starts getting hot at the plate, watch out!
As great as their offense has been, the Rays have the pitching to match. Tampa ranks third in the league with a 3.83 ERA., mere percentage points above Boston and below New York.
The Rays are the only team in the majors that ranks within the top three in their league in both runs scored and ERA that also currently doesn’t hold a playoff spot. Expect that to change if they remain near the top in both categories all season.