3 way-too-early AL East overreactions that could affect Yankees
By Adam Weinrib
Tampa Bay Rays look twice as beastly as we thought
Yeah, there wasn't nearly enough love for the Tampa Bay Rays' rotation -- and lineup, to be honest -- entering the 2023 season.
It was just the Tigers. It was just the Tigers. It was just the Tigers. But ... to open the season, the Rays rotation dropped this to put the league on notice:
- Shane McClanahan: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
- Zach Eflin: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
- Jeffrey Springs: 6 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 12 K
Not scared of Eflin, who was guaranteed the largest contract in Tampa Bay Rays history this offseason? No biggie; they'll have Tyler Glasnow soon, and Drew Rasmussen at the back end. Eflin works as a No. 5 -- and, if he doesn't, the Rays can always print someone else in his place.
Add in Randy Arozarena's 3-for-10 opening set with a dinger, and Wander Franco's healthy return (7-for-11 with a laughably good small-sample-size 1.874 OPS), and yes, Tampa looks more frightening than anticipated, even though it's beyond early. Knowing the Rays can peak this high changes the calculus just a little bit.
Boston can hit. Boston can hit at home. The Orioles can hit. The Orioles can hit the Red Sox starting pitching. The Rays? They might just have the best offensive player in the division (non-Judge department) in Franco, and their pitching staff can downright carve. Let's see what happens when they clash with Boston in the season's fourth series.