The Rays simply can’t stop winning. The last remaining undefeated MLB team pushed it to 13-0 with a 9-3 win over the Red Sox on Thursday afternoon.
A stretch like this is teeming with fun facts, so let’s dig in. Here are 13 notes and stats about the Rays’ season-opening win streak.
- The Rays are the fourth team in MLB history to start at least 13-0, and the first since the 1987 Brewers started 13-0. Before that, it was the 1982 Braves (13-0) and 1884 St. Louis Maroons (20-0). More on that 1884 club to come, below.
- The Rays have trailed at the end of just six of 117 innings this season. They’re the third team all-time to trail at the end of six or fewer of their first 117 innings of a season, joining the 1884 Gothams (six of first 117) and 1884 Maroons (none of first 117), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
- The Rays boast a hefty plus-71 run differential. That’s the third-highest by a team in its first 13 games of a season in MLB history. Each of the teams ahead of them on the list played before 1893, when the mound was moved to its current distance. They are the aforementioned 1884 Maroons (+115) and Gothams (+73).
- In related news, the Rays are hitting the ball over the wall – frequently. They’ve hit 32 home runs. That’s third most in a team’s first 13 games of a season, behind only the 2019 Mariners (33) and 2000 Cardinals (33).
- Consider this: in addition to hitting 32 homers, they’ve allowed just 30 runs. But that isn’t even the best version of this stat. After game 11 of the streak, the Rays had hit 29 home runs and allowed only 20 runs. That was the largest difference between home runs hit and runs allowed by any team after any day in MLB history, per Elias.
- Another way to describe the Rays’ dominance: In their 13 games, their win probability has dipped below 30% in just two of them. On Thursday, it bottomed out at 24.4% when Rob Refsnyder was hit by a pitch with 2 outs and a runner on first as the Rays trailed, 3-1. The next batter made an out, and then the Rays scored seven in the bottom of the inning. On April 4, in game five of the streak, Tampa Bay's win probability dropped as low as 7.9% when the Nationals added a run to go ahead, 6-4, in the seventh with none out. The Rays added one in the eighth, then scored five in the ninth to win, 10-6. In four games, their lowest win probability was 50% at the start of the game.
- If you’re wondering about what this could mean for October, let’s look at the history of teams to start at least 10-0 since the first World Series in 1903. The 1987 Brewers (13-0 start) went 91-71 and finished third in their division, but they would’ve made the playoffs under the current format. The 1982 Braves (13-0) went 89-73 and won their division, before being swept by the Cardinals in the NLCS. The 1981 A’s (11-0) went 64-45 and won the first-half division title, winning a Division Series against the Royals before losing the ALCS to the Yankees in three games. In 1966, Cleveland (10-0) went 81-81 and finished fifth in the AL. The 1962 Pirates (10-0) went 93-68 and finished fourth in the NL, but they would’ve made the playoffs under the current format. And in 1955 the Dodgers (10-0) went 98-55 and won the World Series.
- Overall, it’s the 15th single-season winning streak of at least 13 games in the Wild Card era. All but three of the prior teams made the playoffs, with the 2021 A’s and 1999 Padres and Orioles the only exceptions.
- This is the longest winning streak in Rays history, surpassing a 12-game streak in June 2004.
Earlier in the streak
- Speaking of franchise marks, the Rays shut out their opponents in three straight games through Monday, the longest streak in Tampa Bay history. They were the first team with three straight shutouts in a single season since Cleveland in 2017.
- Monday's 1-0 win ended another streak within the streak. Each of the Rays’ first nine wins came by at least four runs. That was the second-most consecutive wins -- all by four-plus runs -- to start a season, behind only those 1884 Maroons at 13 straight.
- If we remove the season-opening qualifier, the Rays were the first team to win at least nine straight by at least four runs at any point in a season since the 1939 Yankees reeled off 10 straight. Overall, it was the eighth such streak in MLB history, per the Elias Sports Bureau.
Most consecutive wins, all by 4+ runs:
1884 St. Louis Maroons: 13
1876 White Stockings: 11
1939 Yankees: 10
2023 Rays: 9
1938 Yankees: 9
1931 Senators: 9
1911 Pirates: 9
1890 Louisville Colonels: 9
- Wins eight and nine were both 11-0 shutouts, a rarity as well. The Rays became just the fourth team to notch consecutive shutout wins, all by more than 10 runs, joining the 2019 Orioles, 1936 Tigers and 1885 Giants (three straight).