Rays Stat of the Day: May 2021

May 31st, 2021

MLB.com is keeping track of a Stat of the Day for the Rays this season, highlighting a unique, interesting or fun nugget from each game.

May 31: Rays 3, Yankees 1 -- A month for the books
Thanks to an 11-game win streak, dominance on the road and contributions from all facets of the game, the Rays put together a 22-6 (.786) record to close out May. That marks the best record in the Majors for the month, as well as the highest win total for any calendar month in franchise history. Tampa Bay outscored its opponents, 119-54, in that 28-game span -- a plus-65 run differential.

May 30: Rays 6, Phillies 2 -- Zunino leads MLB catchers in HRs
In the bottom of the second on a 1-1 pitch, Mike Zunino smashed a 116.1-mph line drive into the left-field stands for a two-run homer. Zunino leads the Rays with 12 homers, the most among Major League catchers. Tampa Bay's catching corps -- mostly Zunino and Francisco Mejía -- has 15 homers and 37 RBIs, tops in the Majors at the position.

May 29: Rays 5, Phillies 3 -- Meadows heating up
Austin Meadows hit a two-run homer that came off the bat at 104 mph to give the Rays an early 2-0 lead against the Phillies. It was Meadows' 11th homer of the season and second in as many days. Meadows has been an important bat in the Rays' lineup, as he currently leads the team in RBIs (36) and home runs (11). He is batting .296 (16-for-54) with three homers and 16 RBIs in his last 13 games. As a team, the Rays have been scorching over their last 14 games, scoring 105 runs and batting .269 with 35 doubles, three triples, 25 homers and 74 walks.

May 27: Rays 7, Royals 2 -- Two-member club
With a two-run triple and a two-run homer, Austin Meadows had himself quite the day. His fifth game of the season with multiple extra-base hits came against pitcher Brady Singer. The outfielder is now the second player to record a game with two extra-base hits off of the Royals right-hander -- joining the Cardinals' Dylan Carlson.

May 26: Rays 2, Royals 1 (10 innings) -- Glasnow follows Hill's lead
The Rays received some length out of starters Rich Hill and Tyler Glasnow, as they each went eight innings on back-to-back nights in their respective outings. With Glasnow able to follow up on Hill's strong performance in the series opener, that made the duo the latest pair of Rays pitchers to pitch at least eight innings consecutively since Chris Archer and David Price did so on July 5-6, 2014. They are also the most recent Rays duo to allow two runs or fewer in back-to-back starts of eight-plus innings since Wade Davis and James Shields did so on Sept. 25-26, 2011.

May 25: Royals 2, Rays 1 -- KK's ridiculous catch
Center fielder Kevin Kiermaier covered an incredible amount of ground to make a play in left field, nearly colliding with left fielder Austin Meadows on the warning track as he raced toward the wall. Kiermaier had to cover 106 feet in 5.1 seconds, according to Statcast. The catch probability on his backhand grab was just 10%, making it a five-star play. Kiermaier got to Andrew Benintendi's fly ball with an efficient route and a sprint speed that clocked in at 30.5 feet/second, according to Statcast, which considers anything above 30 to be elite. Additionally, his jump -- a statistic that measures distance covered (in the right direction) within the first three seconds after the pitch is released -- was an impressive 7.1 feet better than average.

May 24: Rays 14, Blue Jays 8 (11 innings) -- Record rally in extras seals sweep
A back-and-forth game against the Blue Jays turned in a major way in the 11th inning, as the Rays rallied for seven runs on five hits and two walks. That "touchdown" worth of runs marked the highest-scoring extra inning in Rays' history, and it allowed their win streak to live for another day. Tampa Bay's previous extra-inning high was six runs, which came in the 10th against the Mariners on Sept. 4, 2001.

May 23: Rays 6, Blue Jays 4 -- Win streak team's second longest ever
The Rays’ wild comeback capped their 10th straight win, the second-longest winning streak in franchise history behind a 12-gamer from June 9-22, 2004. It’s also the second longest win streak in the Majors this season, behind only the A’s 13-game run from April 9-24. Tampa Bay has outscored its opponents, 81-35, during that stretch, come from behind six times and overcome multiple-run deficits five times. The Rays have won 16 of their past 20 games and 24 of their past 35, climbing into a tie atop the American League East with the Red Sox.

May 22: Rays 3, Blue Jays 1 -- Walls' historic debut
Taylor Walls' MLB debut on Saturday was twice as nice, in a literal sense, as he collected a pair of doubles. Not a bad way to start a career, right? But it gets better: The switch-hitting Walls doubled as a righty in the fifth, and again as a lefty in the ninth, making him the third player in the modern era (since 1900) with an extra-base hit from both sides of the plate in his MLB debut, along with Rich Becker (two doubles) in 1993 and George Wright (double, home run) in 1982, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Three other switch-hitters doubled twice in their respective debuts (Robbie Grossman in 2013, Kazuo Matsui in 2004 and Jason Hardtke in 1996), but they all did so from one side of the plate.

May 21: Rays 9, Blue Jays 7 (12) -- Extra-inning slams
Francisco Mejía became only the second player in Rays history to hit an extra-innings grand slam when he went deep in the 12th inning at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Fla., giving the Rays their first extra-inning win of the season. The only other Tampa Bay player to do so? Fellow catcher Dioner Navarro, who also went deep in a game at Toronto -- although in his case, it was actually north of the border, not in northern Pinellas County -- in the 13th inning on May 8, 2008.

May 20: Rays 10, Orioles 1 -- Rays' lineup rolling
The Rays have won seven consecutive games, tied for their longest winning streak since they took eight games in a row from Aug. 19-26, 2018, and during that time, they've put together one of the best offensive stretches in franchise history. They've scored at least seven runs in five straight games, matching the club record set from April 20-26, 2018, and they've scored at least nine runs in five games during this winning streak. Tampa Bay has outscored opponents, 63-23, during this streak. It's the second-highest-scoring seven-game stretch in team history, behind only a seven-game barrage from Aug. 24-30, 2007, during which it scored 65 runs.

May 19: Rays 9, Orioles 6 -- Winning, scoring streaks
If what the Rays are doing now reminds you of what they did last August, it's for a reason. They've won their past six games, their longest winning streak of the season and their longest streak within the same season since they took six straight last Aug. 25-31. Their offense has been responsible for a lot of their recent success, as they've now scored at least seven runs in each of their last four games. That four-game streak is tied for the second-longest such streak in franchise history; it's been done by Tampa Bay eight times before, most recently last Aug. 10-13.

May 18: Rays 13, Orioles 6 -- Offense keeps rolling
The Rays ran their winning streak to five games, and once again their lineup stole the show. They have outscored their opponents 44-15 over those five games. Consider it this way: Tampa Bay has scored 44 runs in the past five games after scoring 45 in the previous 13. Brett Phillips and Austin Meadows each hit a three-run homer off Matt Harvey in the second inning Tuesday, the first time the Rays have done so since July 27, 2019, in Toronto. They hit a season-high five home runs overall, and it was the second time this season that one of their players (Mike Zunino) had a multihomer game, joining Meadows' two-homer game on May 4 in Anaheim.

May 16: Rays 7, Mets 1 -- Rays tie season high in homers
The Rays went deep off Marcus Stroman three times, tying their season high and hitting their most at home since last Sept. 11. They improved to 20-9 this season when hitting at least one home run, 10-1 when hitting multiple homers and 13-3 when scoring five runs or more. They've won 12 of their past 13 games when scoring at least five runs. And those homers didn't come at the expense of making contact. Even with a lineup that leads the Majors in strikeouts, Tampa Bay whiffed only four times on Sunday after recording double-digit strikeouts in each of the previous five games and eight of the past nine.

May 15: Rays 12, Mets 5 -- Clutch hits with runners on
So much for those struggles with runners in scoring position. The Rays had a season-high eight hits with RISP, their highest total in a game since recording eight in Boston on Aug. 13 and their most at home since June 14, 2019, against the Angels (also eight). At the time the game ended, Tampa Bay had the third-most at-bats with runners in scoring position (352, behind only the Dodgers and Red Sox) but ranked tied for the 11th-most hits (75) in those situations. They put up 12 runs without hitting a home run, marking the fifth time in club history the Rays scored 12 runs or more with no homers, a feat they last accomplished on May 18, 2009.

May 14: Rays 3, Mets 2 -- Zunino's colossal HR
Mike Zunino sparked the Rays' offense in the eighth inning with a towering blast that left his bat with a 117.3-mph exit velocity, marking the hardest-hit homer by a Rays player in the Statcast era (since 2015). When Zunino homers, he usually gets his money’s worth: He now has three home runs of 450 feet or longer this season, the most in the Majors.

May 12: Rays 9, Yankees 1 -- King of the Hill
Rich Hill extended his scoreless streak to 17 2/3 innings, the longest by a Rays pitcher since Ryan Yarbrough (also 17 2/3 innings) from Aug. 6-17, 2019. That's the longest scoreless streak by a Major League starter 41 years or older since Bartolo Colon's 30-inning stretch from Aug. 26-Sept. 10, 2015, at the age of 42. At 41 years and 63 days old, Hill became the oldest pitcher to throw at least 6 2/3 scoreless innings since Colon on May 16, 2018, and the oldest pitcher with at least nine strikeouts in a game against the Yankees since Nolan Ryan (45 years, 155 days) for the Rangers on July 4, 1992. Additionally, Hill joined Ryan (four times) and Cy Young (on June 15, 1910, at 43 years and 78 days) as the only age-41-or-older pitchers in Major League history with a nine-strikeout outing against the Yankees.

May 12: Yankees 1, Rays 0 -- Pitching continues to excel
The Rays have allowed three or fewer runs 22 times this season, tied for the most in the American League, but they have lost seven of those games -- including this showdown with Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, which dropped Tampa Bay to 5-7 in one-run games. The Rays' pitching staff has a 2.67 ERA in the past 11 games and a 2.80 mark over the past 18. Tampa Bay lost with its lone run allowed coming on a sacrifice fly for the third time in franchise history (also June 21, 2015, against Cleveland and Sept. 7, 2008, against Toronto).

May 11: Yankees 3, Rays 1 -- Zunino's titanic home run
Mike Zunino led off the third inning against Yankees lefty Jordan Montgomery by crushing his seventh home run of the season a projected 472 feet to left-center field, according to Statcast. It was the longest home run hit at Tropicana Field since Statcast began tracking batted-ball distances in 2015 and the second-longest hit by a Tampa Bay player (behind Avisaíl García’s 485-foot shot on May 14, 2019) in the Statcast era. Zunino's blast is now tied for the fourth-longest homer in park history, with Vinny Castilla (478 feet on April 4, 2001) still holding that record. Additionally, it was the fourth-longest home run of the season behind Yermín Mercedes (485 feet), Ronald Acuña Jr. (481) and Marcell Ozuna (479). Zunino is one of only nine players in the Majors this season with multiple homers of at least 450 feet.

May 9: Rays 4, A's 3 -- Powered by homers
Willy Adames hit a game-tying home run and Mike Brosseau hit the go-ahead homer on Sunday, helping the Rays leave Oakland with a win. That's been a trend for Tampa Bay, which improved to 17-8 on the year when hitting at least one home run and 8-1 this season when going deep multiple times in the same game. Hitting homers, especially timely ones with runners on base, is a great way to make up for the Rays' American League-worst .203 average with runners in scoring position.

May 8: A's 6, Rays 3 -- Glasnow reaches a new level
With 11 strikeouts against the A's on Saturday, Tyler Glasnow has recorded double-digit strikeouts in four outings in 2021. Entering this season, the right-hander only had three such outings in his career.

May 7: A's 2, Rays 1 -- King of the Hill
Over Rich Hill's past three outings, the veteran southpaw has only allowed two earned runs in 15 total innings, striking out 18 and only walking five.

May 6: Rays 8, Angels 3 -- At home in Anaheim
As they completed a four-game sweep of the Angels, the Rays also clinched the season series against the Angels for the fifth straight time and improved to 5-0-1 over the last six season series. Tampa Bay is now 56-38 against the Halos in the Rays era after going 32-63 against them in the Devil Rays era. The Rays also improved to 32-12 at Angel Stadium since the start of the 2010 season -- by far the best record there for any visiting team during that stretch -- and 16-3 in Anaheim since June 2, 2015.

May 5: Rays 3, Angels 1 -- Opening act
The Rays improved to 3-2 this season when using an opener with Wednesday's win at Angel Stadium, where they first introduced the opener concept on May 19, 2018. Since Sergio Romo debuted as the opener that day, the Rays have used one 113 times and gone 68-45 in those games. Left-hander Ryan Yarbrough was the bulk reliever after Romo in the first opener game, and he's pitched well in that bulk-inning role ever since. On Wednesday, Yarbrough improved to 25-5 with a 3.45 ERA in 51 appearances out of the bullpen compared to 5-14 with a 4.61 ERA in 33 starts.

May 4: Rays 8, Angels 3 -- Pitching putting it together
After Shane McClanahan and Luis Patiño led another stellar pitching performance against the Angels, the Rays have held their opponents to three runs or fewer in 15 of their last 24 games after doing so just once in their first seven games of the season. During that time, Tampa Bay's staff ERA has dropped from 5.74 to 4.08.

Over their last 11 games, the Rays have allowed more than three runs just twice while posting a 3.09 ERA as a staff.

May 3: Rays 7, Angels 3 -- Glasnow brings the heat
Citing good rhythm, timing and effort in his delivery, starter Tyler Glasnow said he felt like his fastball velocity was "very effortless" as he struck out eight over six innings in a win. It showed on the radar gun, too. According to Statcast, Glasnow hit 100 mph on five fastballs at Angel Stadium, topping out at 100.3 mph. That was his fourth-highest total in a single outing, including the postseason -- and the three games in which he threw 100+ mph more often all came in last year's playoffs. Overall, 16 of the 45 fastballs Glasnow threw on Monday clocked in at 99 mph or higher, the second-highest single-game total of his career behind the 24 he unleashed in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series last year.

May 2: Rays 5, Astros 4 -- Margot comes up clutch
Manuel Margot's pinch-hit, go-ahead RBI single on Sunday did not only lift the Rays to victory -- it marked the first go-ahead pinch-hit of the outfielder's career. The single also was his first pinch-hit since Aug. 3, 2019, vs. the Dodgers (home run), and the first go-ahead pinch-hit in the seventh inning or later for the Rays since Kevin Kiermaier's walk-off single against Toronto on Aug. 22 last season.

May 1: Astros 3, Rays 1 -- Home field ... disadvantage?
With Saturday's loss, the Rays are now 6-10 this season at Tropicana Field. That surpasses their home loss total from last year, when they went 20-9. Tampa Bay also secured another series loss, which is its third in five home series so far. The Rays were 6-4 in home series in 2020.