Matching a record held since 1984 would have to be considered an impressive feat, no matter the sport or circumstances. Now, imagine the history that would be made if the record had been held since 1884. That's right. Eighteen-Eighty-Four. That is the kind of company that the 2023 Tampa Bay Rays are keeping after beating the Boston Red Sox 9-3 on Thursday afternoon.
It's achievements like this that will have Florida sports betting the talk of the town once it becomes legal in the Sunshine State.
The win over the Red Sox moved the Rays to 13-0, a season-opening streak that has only been bested by the 1884 St. Louis Maroons who went 20-0 before losing a game. The Maroons of course now cease to exist, and the 1800s are a century that we can’t pretend to even know much about.
World Series Odds Trending Up For Rays
The Rays success to start the year has moved them up the odds board when it comes to winning the World Series, as they are now +1000 on FanDuel Sportsbook, a move up from the +2500 range they began the season at. Even more drastic has been their move to the top of the AL East betting board, a place that the New York Yankees have been a fixture at for most of last year and the start of this season.
Expect Florida FanDuel Sportsbook to feature all things Tampa Bay Rays once sports betting is legal in the state.
Almost more impressive has been the way the Rays have gone about their business. Tampa Bay has the third lowest payroll in the league, more than $200 million less than the Yankees are paying their roster. The Rays have only trailed at the end of six of their 117 innings this year, better than any team since, you guessed it, 1884.
Balance Is The Rays Key To Success
So how are the Rays finding such great team success? To start with, they are hitting for power thus far in the 2023 season with a league-leading 32 home runs. They have 101 runs thus far, well ahead of the second-place Dodgers with 79. Their team batting average is .287, three points higher than AL East rival Toronto. Pitching has also been fantastic with a league-best 2.23 ERA. With such dominant pitching combined with the elite offense, most of the Rays wins have been by significant margins. One game was a one-run game, one was a two-run game and the rest were won by four or more runs.
A balanced attack has been the key for Tampa Bay with no one player stepping up way above the rest. Seven players have at least three home runs, led by Brandon Lowe with five. Considering only 57 players league-wide have three or more home runs, having seven already at that mark is absurd. Drew Rasmussen has set the tone on the mound, with a 0.00 ERA and only three hits allowed thus far through 13 innings pitched. Jeffrey Springs has been almost as dominant, allowing one run and four hits over his 16 innings (though he left Thursday's start after three innings with left arm ulnar neuritis and was scheduled for an MRI exam on Friday). No matter who the Rays send to the mound or who comes up to the plate, they are in good hands.
A perfect record won’t continue through an entire MLB season; everyone knows that. The Rays have yet to face their biggest rivals in the division and over the course of a 162-game season there are bound to be ups and downs. A big series with the Blue Jays looms and taking a series win over a division rival in a decisive manner would really set the tone in a season where the Rays have already proven that they are a team to be feared.