This is the best team in Tampa Bay Rays history. With their 98th win of the season in Houston last night, this team has won more games than any other team in Tampa Bay Rays history.
Now the chase for 100 wins is on.
This last week, the Rays have achieved one milestone after another. First, it was securing a playoff bid. Then, it was winning their second consecutive American League East crown last Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd at Tropicana Field.
Wednesday night, with their 7-0 shoutout of the Astros, the Rays not only locked up the best record in franchise history but secured home-field advantage throughout the American League Playoffs.
Yes, it’s true. The road to get to the World Series will go through Tampa.
Ray’s outfielder Kevin Kiermaier knew this team was special one week into the season. Kiermaier, in a conversation with manager Kevin Cash, said, “We’re going to be great. I promise you. We get along great, and there’s just a great vibe. I don’t know what it is, but we’re going to be really good. I promise you that. And here we are.”
This 98th win of the season by the Rays surpasses the previous high of 97 wins set by the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays went to the World Series that year but lost to The Phillies in five games.
This will be the third time in team history that the Rays have entered the postseason as the number one seed in the American League. They are also the first team to do it in consecutive seasons since the York Yankees in 2011-12.
Kevin Cash talked about the two milestones achieved last night and what they meant to the team. “They’re both pretty meaningful. This organization has been really good. Since 2008, they’ve had a lot of success, so you’re talking about many playoff teams, many really good teams. To be at the top of the list, yeah, we’re going to appreciate that. We’ve got to go do our job, but these postseason series are going to start through Tampa Bay.”
It is also an incredible accomplishment for this Rays team to think they did this without their ace Tyler Glasnow. Glasnow has been out since mid-June, recuperating from surgery.
The Rays still have one more milestone to play for, and that is 100 wins. The Rays can achieve that in their final regular-season series in New York against the Yankees.
The Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Mariners are all within two games for the final two wildcard spots in the American League. The Yankees currently have a one-game lead on the Red Sox.
With the season’s final three games against the Yankees, the Rays will have something to say about the Yankees’ chances of getting a wildcard spot.
How sweet would it be for the Rays to eliminate the Yankees from the playoffs in the season’s final series? That would be incredible and another milestone achieved by the best team in Rays history.