Dear Tampa Bay Rays, the Cleveland Guardians own you
Four runs were scored between the Rays and Guardians in their Wild Card Series. Was the pitching that good or did was the hitting that bad? Whichever it is, one thing is for certain: the Guardians own the Rays.
If you like pitching duels, then this series was just for you. Sure, the Guardians weren’t good offensively either. But they won like they’ve done against the Rays for a very long time.
Let’s look at the regular season first. Overall, the Guardians have won 26 more games than the Rays. An all-time record of 103-77 against Tampa, 46-42 at home and 57-35 on the road. The Rays only won two games during their regular season matchup for 2022, averaging 2.4 runs scored in eight games.
Now in the playoffs, perhaps it was revenge for the Guardians. This is only the second time these two teams have met in the playoffs. The first being in 2013, when these two also faced off in the Wild Card. The Rays were victorious, winning 4-0. Nine years later, Cleveland gets their revenge, and their World Series hopes remained alive.
That’s what’s sad. The Guardians’ offense was atrocious. Their lineup went 13-for-76, which is a .171 batting average. Their pitching was dominant against Tampa, however, holding their lineup to a .115 batting average and striking them out 29 times.
The Rays have no excuse for this. They made the playoffs last year, the Guardians didn’t. They were the AL champs in 2020, the Guardians weren’t. The Rays have more recent experience, yet the youngest team in MLB this season sent them home.
Not to mention how poetic the ending of Game 2 was for them. Corey Kluber, a Cleveland legend, gave up the walk-off homer to send the Rays home. For Kluber, it was his first playoff appearance not being a member of the Guardians.
We’ll see how this Cleveland team does against the New York Yankees in the ALDS. For now, the Rays have a long offseason to figure themselves out.
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