DATE OPPONENT TIME Fri, 6/27 at Orioles 7:05p Sat, 6/28 at Orioles 4:05p Sun, 6/29 at Orioles 1:35p Mon, 6/30 at Yankees 7:05p Tue, 7/1 at Yankees 7:05p Wed, 7/2 at Yankees 1:05p Thu, 7/3 at Tigers 7:08p Fri, 7/4 at Tigers 7:08p Sat, 7/5 at Tigers 4:08p Sun, 7/6 at Tigers 1:08p Mon, 7/7 Royals 7:10p Tue, 7/8 Royals 7:10p Wed, 7/9 Royals 7:10p Fri, 7/11 Blue Jays 7:10p Sat, 7/12 Blue Jays 4:10p Sun, 7/13 Blue Jays 1:40p Fri, 7/18 at Twins 8:10p Sat, 7/19 at Twins 7:10p Sun, 7/20 at Twins 2:10p Tue, 7/22 at Cardinals 8:15p Wed, 7/23 at Cardinals 7:15p Fri, 7/25 Red Sox 7:10p Sat, 7/26 Red Sox 7:10p Sun, 7/27 Red Sox 1:40p Mon, 7/28 Brewers 7:10p Tue, 7/29 Brewers 7:10p Wed, 7/30 Brewers 12:10p DATE OPPONENT TIME Fri, 8/1 Angels 7:10p Sat, 8/2 Angels 7:10p Sun, 8/3 Angels 1:40p Mon, 8/4 at Athletics 10:05p Tue, 8/5 at Athletics 10:05p Wed, 8/6 at Athletics 3:35p Fri, 8/8 at Cubs 4:05p Sat, 8/9 at Cubs 4:05p Sun, 8/10 at Cubs 2:20p Mon, 8/11 at Rangers 8:05p Tue, 8/12 at Rangers 8:05p Wed, 8/13 at Rangers 8:05p Thu, 8/14 at Rangers 8:05p Fri, 8/15 Yankees 7:10p Sat, 8/16 Yankees 4:10p Sun, 8/17 Yankees 1:40p Tue, 8/19 Tigers 7:10p Wed, 8/20 Tigers 7:10p Thu, 8/21 Tigers 1:10p Fri, 8/22 at Blue Jays 7:07p Sat, 8/23 at Blue Jays 1:07p Sun, 8/24 at Blue Jays 1:07p Mon, 8/25 at Orioles 7:05p Tue, 8/26 at Orioles 7:05p Wed, 8/27 at Orioles 7:05p Thu, 8/28 at Orioles 7:05p Fri, 8/29 Red Sox 7:10p DATE OPPONENT TIME Sat, 8/30 Red Sox 7:10p Sun, 8/31 Red Sox 1:40p Mon, 9/1 Red Sox 1:10p Tue, 9/2 Blue Jays 7:10p Wed, 9/3 Blue Jays 7:10p Thu, 9/4 Blue Jays 7:10p Fri, 9/5 Orioles 7:10p Sat, 9/6 Orioles 1:10p Sun, 9/7 Orioles 1:40p Tue, 9/9 at Yankees 7:05p Wed, 9/10 at Yankees 7:05p Thu, 9/11 at Yankees 7:05p Fri, 9/12 at Blue Jays 7:07p Sat, 9/13 at Blue Jays 1:07p Sun, 9/14 at Blue Jays 1:07p Mon, 9/15 Yankees 7:10p Tue, 9/16 Yankees 7:10p Wed, 9/17 Yankees 7:10p Fri, 9/19 White Sox 7:10p Sat, 9/20 White Sox 7:10p Sun, 9/21 White Sox 1:40p Tue, 9/23 at Red Sox 7:10p Wed, 9/24 at Red Sox 7:10p Thu, 9/25 at Red Sox 7:10p Fri, 9/26 at Indians 7:05p Sat, 9/27 at Indians 6:05p Sun, 9/28 at Indians 1:05p HITTING Evan Longoria carried the Rays last season on his way to 32 home runs and 88 RBIs. He added 39 doubles and 165 hits while becoming a team leader in every aspect. Right fielder Wil Myers developed quite fast and wound up with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs as a rookie. Myers wasn’t bothered by the pace of the game and he was a major reason they went on to win 92 games. The Rays possess balance up and down the lineup anchored by David DeJesus and Ben Zobrist at the top and Yunel Escobar and Ryan Hanigan at the bottom. Teams won’t be able to pitch around this lineup because there are so many weapons. First baseman James Loney (13 home runs, 75 RBIs) provides some punch in the middle. This lineup could wind up being the best in the AL East. FIELDING Joe Maddon’s teams have historically gotten better as the season has gone on. The same goes for their fielding. Maddon will make sure his players work at their craft and it’s evident by their play in the field. Longoria has improved tremendously since his rookie season at third base. Loney is a terrific fielding first baseman, and Zobrist is markedly improved at second base. A question mark could be Hanigan at catcher. No matter what, look for this club to get better in the field by the end of the season. That’s been a trend. STARTING PITCHING David Price was 10-8 with a 3.33 ERA last season and those numbers are expected to improve with another year of seasoning. The stuff is there and there’s no question about it. Can Price deliver consistently? That’s the bigger question, and it should be answered soon enough. Matt Moore was sensational last season, going 17-4 with a 3.29 ERA. Can he repeat that feat? Moore struck out 143 in 150 1/3 innings and seemed to get stronger as the season progressed. He’s still young and shouldn’t be intimidated by much. Look for another solid season from Moore. Alex Cobb and Chris Archer seem primed to stay in the rotation while Jake Odorizzi has stated a strong case to be the fifth starter. RELIEF PITCHING The bullpen will be anchored by closer Grant Balfour, who had 38 saves with the Oakland Athletics last season. Heath Bell, a former star closer with the San Diego Padres, Jake McGee, Joel Peralta and Juan Carlos Oviedo will all provide key work as setup pitchers. If needed, any one of them could step in as the temporary closer. Depth is a major plus in the Rays’ bullpen, and in a marathon season, that’s a big plus. Bell, a three-time All-Star, has 168 career saves. Having that as a backup in your bullpen never hurts. It will give Maddon choices, especially if the club gets nicked up at some point. MANAGING Maddon has won 90 or more games five times and guided his team to the 2008 World Series, where they were upended by the Philadelphia Phillies in five games. Maddon has proven to be a terrific manager year in and year out, despite dealing with a much smaller payroll than many other teams. He has the utmost respect of his players and it shows with how hard they play for him on a daily basis. In baseball, a manager can be the difference in many games. For the Rays, that has resulted in winning season after winning season.
2014 Tampa Bay Gameday HQ Round 2
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