Texas Rangers 7 – Tampa Bay Rays 1
Texas wins series 2-0
by The Dunkin Dad
by The Dunkin Dad on October 04, 2023
Just under 40,000 fans jam packed Tropicana Field to see the Tampa Bay Rays lose a MLB Wildcard Series vs the Texas Rangers. This will easily be the fewest number of fans in attendance at a MLB Postseason series on record: sans the 2020 season. For contrast, the Philadelphia Phillies had a little over 45,000 for their opening game.
Early in the MLB season, the Tampa Bay Rays were considered by many to be the best in the Majors, and deservedly so. Hitting Home Runs at a record pace, pitching themselves out to 30 wins, long before anyone else, and dominating the early competition.
However, early in the Summer, the ‘injury-bug’ began its perilous trek throughout their star-studded lineup and bullpen. Numerous injuries and various “off the field” circumstances handcuffed the Rays into a shell of a team. This was not your first half Tampa Bay Rays team. They were disconnected at the plate and began to press. The pitching that was once unfathomable, began to show deficiencies. Not soon after, the once unsurmountable Rays lead in the AL East was all but gone.
As the regular season ended, the Rays were able to hold on to the top Wildcard spot and secure a home field series vs the Texas Rangers. Equipped with their top two starters and a full complement of batters, the Rays seemed primed to right the ship and oust Texas quickly.
However, NO ONE showed up; the pitching, the batting, and most noticeably the fans. In what can only be described as an “Epic Fail”, the Rays; whom had just secured rights to a new downtown stadium struck out. Managing just 1 run, over 18 innings; the once prolific offense was silenced to nothing more than the chirp of a baby mouse.
What once was a promising season with hopes of a return to the Fall Classic came crashing down as fast as the Rays’ ascent in early April. Many more questions surround the Rays as they enter the offseason than they would like to confront. The most notable is the Wander Franco issue.
The young star finds himself in the midst of a tumultuous legal matter; both stateside and in his home country. To make matters worse, the Rays will not learn any disciplinary ramifications from MLB until the matter is settled. The pitching needs to recover both mentally and physically, as injuries always lend to adjusted recovery times.
Then of course there are contract negotiations and free agency. The lone bright spot seems to be the late, and I mean late, season call up of Junior Caminero. The rookie* showed promising signs of success at the plate, in the field, and on the basepaths.
As this chapter turns over, all of the Tampa Bay area will shift its focus to the Lightning; in hopes of another fortuitous NHL season. So, until next spring and or ground breaking on the new stadium; Rays Up!