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Since 2008, Joe Maddon's magical Devil Rays have become an unstoppable force in the AL East. No longer were they the laughingstock of baseball. They were an actual contender.
It was a given that it was going to take the small-market Rays a while to compete with the big boys because they didn't have the money to sign any premiere free agents. Instead, they had to wait for their draft picks to develop, and once they did, there has been no looking back, and the hype has skyrocketed.
Since 2008, the Rays have won no fewer than 84 games in a season (this year excluded). Four times in that span, they have won 90-plus games, and three times, they have made the playoffs.
They even advanced to their first-ever World Series.
So this year, when the Rays appeared to be embarking upon their post-All-Star break push and making all AL East opponents quake in their boots, the hype began to build once again…until the Rays stopped pushing.
To put it lightly, the month of August was not kind to Tampa.
After going 21-4 in July—the best July record since the 1941 Yankees went 25-4—the Rays went 11-15 in August. They have embarked on losing streaks of six games and five games, and they have lost nine of their last 12 games.
Guess all that July hype was worth it, huh?