2008 was truly a magical season for the Tampa Bay Rays. After taking the entire baseball world by surprise by beating out the Yankees and Red Sox for the AL East Title, the Rays knocked Boston out of the playoffs to advance to their first ever World Series. The Rays followed up the best season in franchise history with the second best season in team history in 2009. Normally 84 wins would have signaled a party in Tampa Bay, however in 2009 it was a major disappointment.
The team got off to a slow start, then crumbled down the stretch with essentially the same players who had carried them to the title the year before. In 2009, the Rays offense scored with the best of them, but the pitching did not play up to its ‘08 level, especially the bullpen.
In addition, that magic seemed to have lost its luster. The timely hits didn’t come. There were times that everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong. Not to mention how the team was brought down on more than one occasion by an atrocious MLB decision to make them wear red hats on certain holidays.
The 2010 Rays feature many of the same players that brought home an AL title in 08, as well as an infusion of talent from the team’s highly touted minor league system. Today we’ll look at what needs to happen for this year’s Rays to once again bounce one of the big money teams and get into the postseason.