2015 Tampa Bay Rays
2015 Tampa Bay Rays / Franchise: Tampa Bay Rays / BR Team Page
Managed by Kevin Cash
History, Comments, Contributions
On May 21st, the 2015 Tampa Bay Rays took over sole possession of first place in the AL East with a 3-0 shutout of the reeling Oakland Athletics, behind the pitching of Alex Colome and four relievers. It was particularly surprising given most observers had written off the Rays before the season began after a disruptive winter that saw two long-time pillars of the team, GM Andrew Freedman and manager Joe Maddon, leave the organization. Taking their place respectively were Matt Silverman and Kevin Cash, both of them without experience in similar positions. The only moves made during the off-season were aimed at rebuilding the team and not with the view of competing immediately.
Yet the division was quite open, and the Rays managed not to get distanced in the early going before making their move in May. However, after building a 1 1/2 game lead over the New York Yankees, they proceeded to lose four straight to drop put of first place on May 26th. They lost their next two games as well, with their last three losses coming in demoralizing fashion in the 9th or 10th inning. After that six-game losing streak which could have easily broken their spirit, the Rays bounced back, however, as they won 12 of their next 16 games. On June 15th, they were back in first place at 36-29, a game ahead of the Yankees, 2 in front of the Toronto Blue Jays and 3 ahead of the Baltimore Orioles in a very tight divisional race. However, they fell back in the standings again when they lost 12 of 14 games in late June and early July, putting them in 4th place, 3 1/2 games back of the Yankees, on July 8th. July proved to be a really tough month, as their record of 9-16 gave them the worst winning percentage in the majors for the month.
On August 20th, Chris Archer pitched a one-hitter in defeating the Houston Astros, 1-0. It was the first complete game by a Rays pitcher in almost a year, the last time having been the work of Drew Smyly on August 22, 2014.
Awards and Honors
- Ted Berg: "The first-place Tampa Bay Rays are winning with a whole new approach to pitching", For the Win, USA Today Sports, June 24, 2015. 
- Bob Nightengale: "First-place Rays still swing heavy stick from executive branch", USA Today Sports, June 29, 2015. 
- Paul White: "Camp sights: Rays start anew after disruptive winter", USA Today Sports, March 12, 2015.