It hasn’t been too long since the A’s and Rays showed down in St. Petersburg, with the A’s surprisingly taking two of the three games in the series. In the week since the series, the A’s rather embarrassingly dropped a series to the Mariners before redeeming themselves with a decisive sweep of the Orioles, while the Rays split a series against the Angels prior to getting swept by the Yankees in New York. While the Rays entered the previous series with the A’s tied for first place with the Yankees, they have since fallen 3.5 games out of first.
Despite their recent sweep, it should be noted that the Rays are a much stronger team on the road than they are at home, as they are 20-18 in Tampa Bay and 23-13 outside of it. It is not too often that a team would perform significantly worse at home than on the road, but Tropicana Field has long had an even poorer reputation than the coliseum, and it is understandable that it could take getting out from under their dome to bring out the best in their players.
Speaking of which, the major news of the day was the announcement that the Rays wished to explore the idea of becoming a two-city team. The proposal, which may already be dead in the water, was that the Rays, who have been struggling to build just one new stadium for the team to play in, would now build two new stadiums in polar opposite locations. In the spring, when the weather is still cooler and wetter, the Rays would play in St. Petersburg like they have been, but as the season turned to summer the team would fly north and finish the season out in Montreal. It, on the surface, looks like a deal that would shaft both cities fairly hard. But, if you were the owner of a big league team, think of the potential TV revenues by playing in two entirely different markets! Right now, the Rays have one of the worst TV deals in the game.
The proposal has been almost universally panned. What would the team call itself? Which city would get to host the postseason? Would fans in either city still fully support the team when the team won’t fully support the city? But hey, as they say, a good compromise leaves everybody upset, so maybe the Rays are onto something here.
Not much has changed for the Rays since these two teams last played. It should be noted that the Rays are now at the stinger end of a stretch wherein they’re playing twenty one games in twenty days, and very few teams can withstand that sort of stretch without fatigue becoming a major factor. The A’s are on a roll while the Rays are on a skid, hopefully Oakland can continue to keep their foot on the throttle and place themselves back into a Wild Card spot by weekend’s end.
1. Austin Meadows DH
2. Tommy Pham LF
3. Brandon Lowe 2B
4. Avisail Garcia RF
5. Ji-Man Choi 1B
6. Kevin Kiermaier CF
7. Willy Adames SS
8. Joey Wendle 3B
9. Mike Zunino C
Game #77: Thursday, June 20th at 7:07
Game #78: Friday, June 21st at 7:07
Game #79: Saturday, June 22nd at 1:07
Game #80: Sunday, June 23rd at 1:07
All games will be broadcast on NBCSCA.