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Inside the Tampa Bay Rays’ hot streak

June 1st, 2017 at 12:11 PM
Aggregated By Sports Media 101

SEATTLE â?? The Rays are not, as manager Kevin Cash often says, where they want to be. But they are somewhat pleased, despite the gravitational pull of .500, to be where they are, one-third the way through the season at 29-27.

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The confidence comes from their recent results, winning 10 of their last 15 and five straight road series, and how they’ve done it, Wednesday’s tie-it-in-the-ninth, win-it-in-the-10th victory over the Rangers the latest example of their resplendent resilience and fight.

Also, from the promise of reinforcements with catcher Wilson Ramos, reliever Brad Boxberger and, in theory, shortstop Matt Duffy all targeting returns to active duty this month.

“It seems,” Cash said, “like we’re trending in the right direction.”

There’s many elements to their success, from the obvious (Chris Archer pitching well) to the unexpected (Jose Alvarado pitching in the majors).

Here are five main reasons that seem somewhat of a surprise:

1. The hit show

The Rays went against some common convention in cobbling a lineup they felt, but not many experts agreed, would be markedly deeper, more dynamic and consistently productive. Perhaps there was no better example of their unorthodox thinking than in re-signing Logan Morrison when there were other better first base/DH options.

But here they are two months in, leading the majors with 83 homers, along with the other two true outcomes of walks (218) and strikeouts (577), while ranking third in the AL in runs (265).

And who is leading the way but Morrison, whose team-high 15 homers have already surpassed his total from his injury-shortened 2016 season and put him on a pace for 43, plus 105 RBIs.

What …

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Tags: Corey Dickerson, Evan Longoria, Kevin Cash, Logan Morrison, Rays, Steven Souza Jr., Tampa Bay Rays, Tim Beckham

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