Today the Tampa Bay Rays will open their Grapefruit League season with a 1 pm game against the Baltimore Orioles at the teams winter home in Port Charlotte. Meanwhile, 2416 miles west in the city of Las Vegas odds makers feel that it will be a battle between the Rays, the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees for the top spot in the American League East, as well as a trip to the World Series.
The American League odds to making it to the World Series in 2014 look like this according to Bovada Sports in Las Vegas. The Detroit Tigers are the favorites at 9/1, with the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays all at 12/1, so that means yet another close race the AL East, so what else is new.
Tampa Bay are a proven good bet having reached the playoffs in four of six seasons, winning at least 90 games in five of those seasons and never having a losing record. Last season, with some serious nail biting the Rays, had a play in game beating the Rangers and then beat the Indians in the wild-card game before losing to the Red Sox in the ALDS.
But last season’s 92-71 record marked the second-best in franchise history, so with their ace pitcher David Price still with the team the expectations are high that the Rays are going to be a contender.
For the first time in years the Rays could have some offensive depth with a batting order that includes Evan Longoria, David DeJesus, Wil Myers, James Loney, Desmond Jennings and the always dependable Ben Zobrist, they will score runs.
Baseball knows the Rays have pitching and the key is staying healthy and with a starting four David Price, Alex Cobb and Chris Archer, they have the best rotation in the AL East and one of the best in the MLB. Finally, the surprise pickup of free agent closer Grant Balfour they are solid at the back of the bull pen.