Rays Race to Franchise Record Start - Guide to Greater Tampa Bay
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Rays Race to Franchise Record Start

Rays Race to Franchise Record Start

Just one week into the 2023 season, the Tampa Bay Rays have already set a franchise record –– and it is a good one. The Rays are now 6–0, the franchise’s best start to a season. 

Staying home proved beneficial and the club finished the preseason with a 10–4 home record. 

That momentum has carried through the first week of the regular season. Their record-setting start is largely thanks to elite pitching throughout the rotation.


Maybe more than any other team at the big-league level, the Tampa Bay bullpen is by far their greatest strength. Despite Rays ace, Tyler Glasnow, being on the DL at the start of the season due to a torn oblique, the Rays still have a strong rotation consisting of Shane McClanahan, Jeffrey Springs, Drew Rasmussen, newcomer Zach Eflin, with Cash’s up-and-comer Josh Fleming filling Glasnow’s spot in the starting rotation.

After the 4–0 start that set the aforementioned franchise record, the Rays had a collective ERA under 1.00 and 30+ strikeouts, becoming only the third team to ever do so to begin a regular season (1978 Angels, 1991 White Sox). The ball is in good hands as the Rays await Glasnow’s return.

The Rays decided to keep pitchers Calvin Faucher, and Rule 5 selection, Kevin Kelly, while Luis Patiño and feel-good story, Yonny Chirinos, were optioned down. 

Manager Kevin Cash has had big praise for Faucher, lauding his strike throwing as “elite” earlier in the spring.  Returners Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Garrett Cleavinger, Pete Fairbanks, Colin Poche and Ryan Thompson round out the bullpen.


The Rays raced out of the gate with a season sweep of the Detroit Tigers. Tampa Bay’s underrated long ball ability was on full display, outscoring Detroit 21–3 through three games.  

Through six games, their 13 HRs are tied for the league lead with the Dodgers. Altogether, eight different players have gone yard, including three from DH Luke Raney and two apiece from SS Wander Franco, 1B Yandy Díaz and CF Jose Siri.

Siri has big shoes to fill after the exit of Ray’s fan favorite, Kevin Kiermaier. So far, he has dazzled both at the plate and on defense.

P Shane McClanahan was nearly perfect in the Rays’ home opener, shutting out the Tigers on Opening Day. The 2022 All-Star finished with six Ks in six IP. Through his first two starts, the southpaw is 2–0 with 12 strikeouts and a 1.50 ERA.

“Team baseball, through and through, team baseball,” said McClanahan after sweeping the Nationals to move to 6–0.

“No matter the situation, no matter the count, it’s team baseball. It’s good camaraderie in here and it’s been good couple of series for us.”

The entire starting rotation has been lights out, but the performance of the week goes to P Jeffrey Springs. Springs finished his first start with 12 Ks and a perfect 0.00 ERA in the Rays’ final game against Detroit.

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Much of the team’s success can be credited to manager Kevin Cash’s brilliance. Since taking over as manager in 2015, Cash has been just that: money.

He is the only manager in American League history to win back-to-back AL Manager of the Year awards (2020-21). Cash stands among the top managers in baseball and has consistently kept the Rays atop the East in his tenure.  The Rays have earned a spot in the last four postseasons, winning a pennant and World Series berth in 2020. 

Cash now has the Rays playing their best baseball yet.

“We should be very pleased with the way that we’ve played. The consistency, defensively, on the mound, at the plate, our approach at the plate has really stood out,” said Cash after the Nats sweep.

“It just feels like we’re making a lot of good decisions and I know that was kind of harped on throughout all of Spring Training. The guys are getting themselves into good counts and when they get them, they’re doing some damage.”


Small in budget but big in heart, the Tampa Bay Rays have proven that you do not need a limitless checkbook to dominate America’s pastime. As the 2023 MLB season is underway, the Rays are once again poised to challenge the status quo and show the world that their unique blend of talent, defense and pitching makes them a force to be reckoned with.

By Jordan Ogren.

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