Tampa Bay Rays improve to 13-0, match MLB record for best start


The Tampa Bay Rays are playing like the modern-day St. Louis Maroons.

You remember them, right? They were the baseball team that won their first 20 games of the season back in 1884.

That historic start soon may be in jeopardy after the Rays matched baseball's modern-era record for the best start to the season by improving to 13-0 after a 9-3 win over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday.

The Rays became the third team since 1900 to win their first 13 games, equaling the 1982 Atlanta Braves and 1987 Milwaukee Brewers.

The Rays have swept each of their first four series over the season's opening two weeks, capped with a four-game set against the Red Sox. Their victory over Boston gave the Rays their longest winning streak in franchise history, surpassing the team's 12 straight wins in 2004.  

The streak has been built on power hitting and dominant pitching. The Rays' pitching staff entered Thursday's game with the league's best-earned run average at 2.17.  Tampa Bay has hit a league-leading 32 home runs this season, which alone tops the 30 total runs the team has allowed. 

The Rays have homered in each of their first 13 games of the season, matching the third-longest streak in the modern era (the 2019 Seattle Mariners homered in 20 straight games and the 2002 Cleveland Indians homered in 14 straight, per ESPN).

The Rays haven't exactly faced teams expected to contend for the World Series, but they have won nearly every game in convincing fashion. In 11 of their 13 victories, the Rays were victorious by four or more runs, having outscored opponents 101-30.

Even the Maroons would be impressed by that run differential.

No major league baseball team has ever had a better start to the season than those 1884 Maroons, who went on to finish the season first in the Union Association with a 94-19-1 record.   

The Rays will look to move one win closer to the Maroons' overall record, and set MLB's modern-day record, on Friday night when they start a three-game series in Toronto against the Blue Jays.  

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