Usually, the MLB season is spoken about as a grind, like a marathon. But the 2020 season is going to be a strange one for the Rays and every team. This season will be a full out 60-game sprint to the finish line for a championship opportunity. So it’s with that in mind that we present the three key series for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2020.
Key Series #1: 4 Game Set against Yankees in Tampa Bay (August 6-9)
One aspect of this shortened season is the fact that teams will face their division rivals ten times each. What makes that significant for Tampa is the fact that only four of the ten games against the Yankees take place in Tampa Bay. Thus these four games become vital for the Rays. Tampa Bay is one of the top two candidates to claim the 2020 AL East crown, the Yankees being the other. And picking up victories against their most significant threat for the AL East division title is a must.
Key Series #2: 7 of 10 Games against Toronto in Tampa Bay
In a shortened campaign where every game is amplified and every streak magnified, home games can be clutch. And while Tropicana Field isn’t the greatest of environments, it is usually relatively empty on a typical night. And while this may not seem like an advantage at first, it will allow the Rays to feel more comfortable than most.
Playing against Toronto won’t be easy as they have some talented future superstars. However, the Blue Jays are still very much young and in progress, and therefore, the experienced Rays should be able to capitalize. Tampa Bay has been a quiet force and presence in not just the AL East but all of MLB. And 2020’s shortened format could give them a more accessible path to the top.
Key Series #3: Final Series against Phillies
While their AL East counterparts, the Yankees will face the lowly Marlins. Tampa must square off with the competitive Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies are likely to be a sleeper contender in the NL East and NL Wildcard races and won’t be an easy matchup. Closing out the season against a team that will likely be fighting for their playoff hopes that the final weekend will be a difficult task. But should the Rays overcome the challenge, they can place themselves in a prime postseason position.
Final Thoughts on the Rays Schedule for 2020
The Tampa Bay Rays are going to be a competitive and innovative team in 2020. And it will be in their innovation that they will find success. Tampa will deal with a difficult road towards a championship by being in the AL East. And also with the Rays facing off against the NL East in interleague providing another tough challenge. But if the Rays get on a roll, expect a solid and interesting season in Tampa in 2020.