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Rays Continue to Hit; Now Pitching is Coming Around

More yelling. Yay!

Maddon and the Rays haven’t had much to yell about lately

The Tampa Bay Rays are surging in the A.L. East standings. They are now withing three games of the division lead after moving into third place with Saturday’s 8-0 blanking of the Baltimore Orioles. The Rays and Orioles meet today for the 12th time already this season and the Rays will be trying for their eighth win and sixth in a row over the Birds. Baltimore has scored only one run in the first two games of this series. That is a stat that should scare the rest of this division.

Tampa Bay has been spanking the ball all season. It has been their pitching that has held them back. Cy Young winner David Price has won one game this season. All-Star closer Fernando Rodney has blown several leads including three with two outs in the ninth inning. The Rays have 10 losses when leading after seven innings this season. To put this in perspective, the Orioles recently had a streak where that happened to them in 109 straight games when leading after seven. If the Rays had won just seven of those games, they would be 41-20 right now.

But as of late, the pitching has been much better. The bullpen has really been doing the job too. On Friday night Joel Peralta and Rodney closed out the eighth and ninth innings in a 2-1 win. They have now won 20 of their last 29 games.

They are now back to within a game of .500 against the rest of the A. L.  East after a terrible start. This is significant because they will play 14 more games this month inside the East.

Right now, four of the five teams in the division are within 3.5 games of each other. So while they play each other this month, someone will have a chance to take command if they can get hot. Right now, the Rays are the hottest of these four teams. If they can get Price back from the disabled list soon, and he can get back close to his old self, they could really be tough.

The Boston Red Sox continue to play well. They have won 16 of their last 24 games after splitting with the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday. The Sox lead the division by 1.5 games over the New York Yankees and 3 games over the Rays. Boston leads the division in runs scored with 326 and run differential at +75. They will finish their three game series with the Angels on Sunday, then will move on to St. Petersburg to take on the Rays. They will meet Tampa Bay six times in the next ten games, with a four game series with the Orioles in between.

The Yankees will continue a west coast road trip after leaving the Seattle Mariners after Sunday’s game. They will be at the Oakland A’s and the Angels next week before heading back home to play the Los Angeles Dodgers. If they can get hot, they know they will gain ground on someone every day while their competition beats up on each other. On the other hand, if they struggle out west, they will lose ground to someone every time they lose.  The Rays will come in after the Dodgers and they will close out June with the Orioles on the road.

June will be a big month in this division. When the calendar turns to July, these standings could look vastly different, or not that much different at all.

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