If you have been hanging around these parts for a while, you know that the model for this site is to tell you what the Rays have done, what they are doing and what they will do, and why. Unlike most team blogs, we do not very often tell you what the Tampa Bay Rays should do. However, for the next 12 days we will step away from the standard, and we present to you 12 “presents” the Tampa Bay Rays should give to their fans.

On the sixth day of Raysmas, the Tampa Bay Rays gave to us, SIX months with at least 14 wins…

The Rays have the talent and the potential to be a playoff-caliber team. But if they are going to make a run at the playoffs that need to play better and they need to do it on a more consistent basis. In 2008 the Rays will have months with 27*, 29, 26, 25, 28 and 26 games. For our wish to come true, the best record the Rays would have to post in any one month would be 14-11 (July). Three games over .500 should be a number the Rays can achieve.

Here is a breakdown of the 2007 Tampa Bay Devil Rays record by month.

April 11 14
May 11 15
June 11 17
July 7 20
August 15 14
September 11 16
The Rays were bad in 2007, of course we already knew that. In fact they were consistently bad, with five losing months and only a single winning month.

Now let’s imagine a scenario in which the Rays won just three more games in April, May, June and September (Let’s pretend July did not happen). That is just three more wins each month. That is three wins over the course of four and half weeks. One extra win every eight or nine games. One game in which the bullpen doesn’t blow a 3-run lead in the 8th and 9th innings. One more game in which the team gets home the tying run from second base with one out in the 8th. One more game in which the starting pitcher does not surrender four runs in the first inning. Just three more wins in each of those months.

If the Rays can win 14 games in each month, that would result in 84 wins over the course of a full season. 84-78 in 2007 would have been good enough for third in the AL East, 12 games behind the Red Sox, and 4th in the wild card race, 10 games behind the Yankees. Granted, 84 wins will not be enough to make the playoffs in 2008. The real key is to avoid a month like July. Good teams don’t have 7-20 months. Good teams have a bunch of 14-12s and one month at 20-7. If the Rays can play well enough and consistently enough to win at least 14 games each month, one hot streak could push the Rays up to the 88-90 win mark and right in the middle of the playoff hunt.

We are not convinced yet that the Rays are ready to be a playoff team, but 84 wins is not out of the realm of possibilities, and an 84-win team will be playing meaningful games in September. That is all a fan can ever ask for from their team…meaningful games in September.

*The Rays have 1 game scheduled in March

On the sixth day of Raysmas, all Rays fans want is SIX months with at least 14 wins, and…
FIVE players with at least 25 home runs
[Day 5]
FOUR winning records against AL East foes [Day 4]
THREE AL All-Stars [Day 3]
TWO new pitchers in the rotation by the all-star break [Day 2]
ONE Evan Longoria in the opening day lineup [Day 1]



  1. Robert Rittner says:

    Sounds like a good idea to me. Of course, dividing the season into months is purely arbitrary. There is no more reason to want a 14-11 record in July than there is to want the same record over any 25 game stretch, say June 10-July 5. Or it would be just as valid to say we want the Rays to win at least 14 of every 25 games, or 11 of every 20 or 16 of every 30.

    In fact, it might be useful to consider the wish for records against certain teams. For example, I would like the Rays to play near .500 ball against NY & Boston and other contending teams while winning 6-7 of 10 from the poorer teams.

    I know I am nitpicking this one, and as a matter of fact, I like the thought and in this case consider it a worthwhile way to think about the season. But there are times that such artificial categorizations (month by month records, BA over 50 ABs and the like) are used to make serious arguments, and that infantilizes discussion.

  2. Marc says:

    Good post.

    Year in Review: http://raysbaseball.blogspot.com/

  3. The Professor says:

    of course the division is as arbitrary as any other "milestone" marker in baseball. Jim Thome was the 23rd player in baseball history to hit 500 home runs. He also happened to be the 23rd player in baseball history to hit 499 home runs, but we never heard about that.

    the monthly breakdowns is just a nice way to show that 66-96 is really not that far from 84-78 over the course of 6 months and 162 games. Sometimes it is just easier to understand the big picture if it is broken down into a bunch of little pictures.

    On the surface it looks like a big difference between hitting .250 and hitting .300. But in reality it is just one more hit a week over the course of an entire season (~25 weeks).


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