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Tampa Bay Rays Betting – Rays Looking To Take Another Step Forward As Contenders

Posted by Dale “Skip” Lalonde on 3/21/2012 2:43:01 PM
tampa bay rays betting

If it wasn’t for the St. Louis Cardinals completing a nearly identical late season run and making it in to the playoffs before actually going all the way to win the World Series, then the Tampa Bay Rays would have been the biggest story in baseball a year ago. Coming off their incredible playoff charge that led to them clinching a Wild Card spot on the final day of the regular season a year ago, the Rays are looking to be key players in the AL East once again, as the one sports bet team that can never be counted out.

After finishing 20 games above .500 last season, Tampa Bay will once again field one of the youngest and most talented rosters in baseball. With so many young stars under contract the Rays’ biggest problem has been the decisions on who to sign long-term and who to move on without, but so far they have done an excellent job of balancing the talent and the money. James Shields is considered the veteran ace of one of the strongest starting rotations in the Al, and he isn’t even 30-years old. The one-two tandem of Shields and David Price is as good as it gets in the AL, and after the club tied for the AL lead in quality starts with 99 a year ago while leading in both ERA and WHIP, this group is destined for another quality season of sportsbook results.

The biggest question for the Rays this season is the same one that it was able to answer last year, which is where the offense will come from on a team that lacks any superstar hitters, with Evan Longoria being the closest thing to an exception. Tampa Bay managed to finish eighth in the AL in runs scored, but only the Seattle Mariners had a lower team average than their .244 mark as a team, which shows both their efficiency and overall lack of hits. Longoria has all of the tools to become an All Star, but his average last year matched the Rays’ .244 team mark, and he must be more consistent. Desmond Jennings and BJ Upton have a ton of potential and are both capable of taking another step forward this season, and with the Boston Red Sox determined to bounce back and the New York Yankees as strong as they were a year ago, Tampa Bay will need more offense if it is going to repeat in that second spot.

After what happened a year ago, it would be impossible to rule out the Rays as a potential sports betting contender even before the season gets underway. That said, Tampa Bay needs at least a couple of its starters to step up and bring a more consistent effort on offense in order to improve the overall numbers, and do a better job of matching the pitching in contributions to the team’s success. If Jennings and Upton continue to improve, while Longoria makes that jump, then the offense could very well match the pitching and make the Rays a serious contender once again this season.

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