MLB Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays Look to Build on Successful Month of May

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Tampa Bay Rays

Kim Klement-USA Today Sports

As we venture into the first week of June, let’s take a look back at the month of May for the Tampa Bay Rays:

The Rays went 18-10 in the month, bringing their record to 30-24 for the season. That 30-24 record helped get the Rays within two games of the AL East leader, the Boston Red Sox.

The Rays saw a vast improvement in the bullpen, which was a common sore spot for the team in April and early May. Many different players, including a few players new to the team, were crucial to what the Rays should consider to be a successful month.

Here are some of the highlights of the month:

— The Rays scored 166 runs in May, the most in MLB.

— Of those 166 runs, 160 of them were RBIs, also the most in MLB.

— The Rays hit 67 doubles in May, second most in MLB.

— It wasn’t all about the hitters, as the pitching staff struck out 232 batters, good for fourth in MLB.

May was also a month of multiple call-ups for the pitching staff:

— May 10: Josh Lueke was called up to replace the injured Brandon Gomes.

— May 16: Alex Torres was called up to help the bullpen after the David Price injury.

— May 20: Jake Odorizzi, a major piece of the James Shields trade, was called up to replace Price in the rotation.

— May 29: Rays call up prospect Alex Colome, leading to a MLB debut start against the Miami Marlins.

Each of those call-ups had a positive impact on the team, thus leading to a strong May.

Now, we'll take a look at six players that were vital to the Rays' success in May.

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James Loney

Kim Klement-USA Today Sports

Not known for his bat before the Rays signed him this winter, James Loney put up big numbers in May: .306 BA, 6 HRs, 17 RBIs.

These numbers help spot Loney on the list of May's best Rays.

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Matt Moore

Kim Klement-USA Today Sports

Matt Moore, still sitting at an impressive 8-0 on the season, also had a great month of May. Here are his starts in May:

May 3: @ Colorado Rockies: 5 IP, 4 ER, 3 Ks, ND

May 8: vs. Toronto Blue Jays: 5 IP, 2 ER, 2 Ks, W

May 14: vs. Boston Red Sox: 6 IP, 3 ER, 8 Ks, W

May 19: @ Baltimore Orioles: 7 IP, 1 ER, 3 Ks, W

May 25: vs. New York Yankees: 6 IP, 1 ER, 2 Ks, ND

May 31: @ Cleveland Indians: 1 IP, 0 ER, 1 K, ND (Left due to rain delay, game finished near 3:00 am)

Moore's totals:

6 Games Started, 3.30 ERA, 3 Wins & 0 Losses.

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Joel Peralta

Kim Klement-USA Today Sports

Joel Peralta, the solid rock of the Rays bullpen this season, added another impressive month for the 2013 season.

Peralta made 18 appearances in the month, gaining one save while maintaining a 2.20 ERA for May.

The numbers don't pop like many of the other players, but Peralta has been the glue holding together the Rays' season.

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Evan Longoria

Kim Klement-USA Today Sports

Evan Longoria, a household name for even non-Rays fans, has been a staple in MLB for the past few years. Now in 2013, Longoria is quietly putting together a season worth a look when MVP talks begin.

Longo's numbers for May: .322 BA, 3 HRs, 17 RBIs, 13 doubles (third in MLB), 22 Runs (tied for fifth in MLB)

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Alex Cobb

Kim Klement-USA Today Sports

Alex Cobb has quietly been an ace for the Rays this season, overlooked by the 8-0 Matt Moore. The month of May was more of the same for Cobb, which has been filled success.

Here are his May starts:

May 5: @ Colorado Rockies: 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Ks, W

May 10: vs. San Diego Padres: 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 13 Ks, ND

May 16: vs. Boston Red Sox: 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Ks, ND

May 21: @ Toronto Blue Jays: 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Ks, W

May 26: vs. New York Yankees: 8.1 IP, 2 ER, 8 Ks, W

Cobb's May Totals: six starts, 2.78 ERA, 3-0

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Kelly Johnson

Kim Klement-USA Today Sports

No player was hotter in the month of May for the Rays than Kelly Johnson. Johnson, who has been a second baseman for the majority of his career, has been given the Ben Zobrist approach by Rays manager Joe Maddon. Johnson is now playing various positions, and it's working. Here are his May numbers: .330 BA, 7 HRs, 26 RBIs, 1.022 OPS.