How MLB Opening Day Affects the Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays Joe Maddon

Kim Klement-US Presswire

Contrary to popular belief, Opening Day doesn’t incorporate every team in the MLB, a fact the Tampa Bay Rays learned only yesterday.

In fact, of the five AL East teams, only two made an appearance yesterday, as the Boston Red Sox traveled to the Bronx to take on the New York Yankees, leaving the Big Apple with an impressive 8-2 win.

With that in mind, the Rays will be eager to start the season in a positive manner, and with a series against both the Yanks and Sox before April’s close, there are takeaways to be made.

C.C. Sabathia‘s third start of the season is due to be against the Rays, who are slated to have David Price take to the mound the same day. Apart from being the current AL Cy Young holder, Price is supported by a better, more consistent lineup. There are injury worries for the Yankees to be taken into consideration, however those won’t abate by the time this pair meet for the first of six series this season.

One of the most impressive aspects of Boston’s victory yesterday was their plate discipline, and that is something Tampa Bay must strive to match. By the end of the season, the Rays will be in divisional contention, while the Red Sox are expected to drift out of the race. That said, without an improved BB/K ratio, it may prove more difficult for Tampa Bay than imagined.

The Rays are up in their first tilt of the season this evening against the Baltimore Orioles and Tropicana Field, and all eyes will be on how the team reacts after last week’s injury to Luke Scott has forced Kelly Johnson to DH.

Richard Churchill is a Tampa Bay Rays writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook, and add him to your Google+ network.

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