Calm down. It’s early.
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays finished their three-game series against the Detroit Tigers Thursday, and fans who brought brooms to the game walked out happy. Last year, the Rays’ first sweep came in mid-June, and only one more followed for the whole season.
Right now, the Rays are 3-0 and are sitting pretty at the top of the American League East Division.
But we all know that won’t last. No, this is not a pessimistic column by any means. Let’s just hold off on celebrating too hard. What will we do if they go to New York today and lose the next three?
Well, we’ll certainly be happy with .500, right?
But let’s not forget last year’s opening game with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Rays came out swinging and racked up 16 hits in the 8-1 victory. It took eight more games to get a second win.
And while the kids have three wins in just three games, it was still the Detroit Tigers.
So calm down. It’s early.
Last year, it took the Rays 32 games to get 10 wins. It took another 32 to get to 20. Come mid-June, expect more than 20 from this year’s team. But don’t expect much more.
The team has issues with consistency.
Last year, they started off slow. Then went through a period where they won one and then lost the next, and so on. But in the second half of the season, the Rays were almost unstoppable. In their last 18 games, they had a record of 12-6.
The inconsistency pattern can be seen in the first three games alone.
In Game 1, they took an early lead but let the Tigers come back. Then, they took control and padded some runs for extra measure with a 9-5 win. Good start.
Then in Game 2, the Rays took it to 12 innings before the dome was lit up orange for a 2-1 victory. Neither team could get a hit in three extra innings.
But Thursday, the Rays truly had a hit show with home runs coming not from Vinny Castilla, Jose Canseco, Fred McGriff and Greg Vaughn, but from Brent Abernathy, Chris Gomez, Ben Grieve and Randy Winn. Winn’s grand slam solidified the victory that was almost a shutout, until two Detroit solo shots came in the ninth. The 9-2 victory is telling of the Rays’ ability to never truly hold onto a game. How many times has the supposed closer blown a multi-run lead? (I can personally remember a few choice words I’ve directed at Roberto Hernandez and Esteban Yan on a couple of occasions.)
But now the Rays are off to a good start, and it could get better if they have a decent showing in The House That Ruth Built this weekend. But, let’s just hope they hold on to this lead for a short while before they let the Yankees take over again.
And remember to calm down.