Rays Stat of the Day: August 2021

September 1st, 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.

Aug. 31: Rays 8, Red Sox 5 -- Rays on a tear vs. AL East
The Rays are 44-18 against American League East opponents this season, having strung together 10 straight victories against division rivals to form the longest intradivision winning streak in franchise history. They have also won 18 of their last 19 games within the division since July 29, and 38 of 48 since May 13 after beginning the season with a 6-8 record in AL East play.

Aug. 30: Rays 6, Red Sox 1 -- Rays swing right by Red Sox
At the end of play on July 5, the Rays were a season-high-tying 4 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the American League East race. In less than two months, things have changed significantly. After Monday's win, the division-leading Rays are nine games ahead of the Red Sox. That 13 1/2-game swing has taken place because Tampa Bay has gone 34-12 since July 5, while Boston is just 21-26. The Rays have done their part in head-to-head matchups, too, going 6-1 against the Red Sox over the past month.

Aug. 29: Rays 12, Orioles 8 -- AL leaders with 9 grand slams
Joey Wendle's grand slam -- his second this season and third of his career -- was the Rays' ninth, most in the American League. (One-third have been hit by Brett Phillips.) Tampa Bay is responsible for nine of the AL's 57 slams overall, although it is tied for second most in the Majors with the Dodgers and Rockies. Only the Braves, with 10, have more. The Rays have also set a franchise record for grand slams, surpassing their high of seven in 2010, as part of their overall success with the bases loaded. They entered the game with a 1.246 OPS with the bases loaded, which would be the Majors' highest mark in a non-shortened season going back to at least 1974.

Aug. 28: Rays 4, Orioles 3 -- Franco reaches in 28th straight game
In the eighth inning, Wander Franco knocked a one-out single to center off reliever Cole Sulser. That extended the rookie shortstop's on-base streak to 28 games, the longest active streak in the Majors and tied for the second-longest such streak in American League history by a player 20 or younger. Franco is tied in that department with Mickey Mantle, who strung together a 28-gamer from June 14-July 10, 1952. Mantle also occupies the top spot on that list with a 36-game streak from Sept. 5, 1951-May 4, 1952. It’s also the longest such streak by a 20-year-old since the Reds' Frank Robinson reached base in 43 straight games in 1956.

Aug. 27: Rays 6, Orioles 3 -- Club record for wins vs. one foe
The Rays have won 16 of their 17 games against the Orioles this season, setting a single-season club record for most wins against a single opponent with two more matchups to go. (The previous record was 15-3 against the Orioles in 2008.) The Rays have put together 10 straight victories against the Orioles while outscoring them by 74 runs, 134-60, on the year. They've gone 9-1 at Tropicana Field and 7-0 in Baltimore. Tampa Bay has outscored Baltimore by 34 runs (46-12) just in the seventh inning or later, including a +27 run differential (33-6) after the sixth inning at Camden Yards.

Aug. 25: Rays 7, Phillies 4 -- Lowe's 30th homer a rare feat
Second baseman Brandon Lowe became just the seventh player in the Majors to hit the 30-homer mark, reaching that figure for the first time in his career. Lowe now owns just the 16th 30-homer season in Rays history, and he joins only Jose Canseco (1999), Carlos Peña (2007, '09), Evan Longoria ('16) and Logan Morrison ('17) in having reached that point before the end of August. In his last 17 games, Lowe is hitting .338 with six doubles, seven homers and 21 RBIs.

Aug. 24: Rays 3, Phillies 1 -- Franco just keeps hitting
Wander Franco’s fourth-inning single at Citizens Bank Park extended his on-base streak to 25 straight games. That is: the longest active streak in the Majors; a new Rays rookie record, surpassing Rocco Baldelli’s 24-game streak in 2003; and the longest streak by a player 20 years old or younger since Ken Griffey Jr. also had a 25-game streak from June 16-July 15, 1990. The last player under 21 with an on-base streak longer than Franco’s current run? Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, who reached safely in 43 straight games in 1956. In 33 games since the All-Star break, Franco is slashing .298/.359/.496 with 15 extra-base hits, 22 RBIs, 28 runs and 11 walks compared to 19 strikeouts.

Aug. 22: Rays 9, White Sox 0 -- Franco a consistent force
Wander Franco finished 2-for-5 with an RBI double to help the Rays clinch the series and extend his on-base streak to 24 games. That marks the longest active streak in the Majors and is tied for the longest stretch by a rookie in Tampa Bay history, matching the 24-game run by Rocco Baldelli from March 31-April 27, 2003. (Franco was 2 years old when Baldelli's streak took place.)

It's also the longest on-base streak by a Ray since Tommy Pham's club-record 48-gamer from Aug. 21, 2018-April 16, 2019, and the longest within a single season since C.J. Cron was on base 25 games in a row from April 21-May 19, 2018. Additionally, Franco -- hitting .299/.362/.504 with 15 extra-base hits and 22 RBIs since the All-Star break -- owns the longest on-base streak by a player 20 years or younger since Ken Griffey Jr. put together a 25-game streak from June 16-July 15, 1990.

"You guys all know that’s a legendary name, and everybody wants to be like him. So we're just going to keep on going on until records get broken," Franco said through interpreter Manny Navarro.

Aug. 21: Rays 8, White Sox 4 -- A rare triple for Zunino
Rays catcher Mike Zunino collected his first triple of the season and his first since 2019 on a fourth-inning drive that took an unusual hop off the left-center-field wall. Zunino's last big league triple was in 2014. In 2,481 Major League at-bats, Zunino has four triples.

Aug. 20: White Sox 7, Rays 5 (11 innings) -- Franco extends on-base streak
Rays shortstop Wander Franco has reached base in 22 straight games, the longest active streak in the Majors. It ties him with Wil Myers (2013) for the second-longest streak by a rookie in club history, trailing Rocco Baldelli (24 in '03). Franco's streak is the longest for a player 20 years old or younger since Edgar Renteria had a 22-game streak for the Marlins from July 25-Aug. 16, 1996.

Aug. 19: Rays 7, Orioles 2 -- Total domination
The Rays are 15-1 against the Orioles this season with three games left to play in Baltimore from Aug. 27-29. Already they have tied their single-season club record for the most wins against a single opponent, matching their total from 2008, when they went 15-3 against the Orioles. Overall, Tampa Bay has outscored Baltimore, 128-57, in the season series.

Aug. 18: Rays 8, Orioles 4 -- Rays extend winning streak vs. O's
The Rays have won eight straight games against the Orioles -- the second longest winning streak against them in franchise history (behind a 12-game run from April 30-Sept. 24, 2008) -- 14 of their 15 matchups this season and 20 of 22 dating back to Aug. 25, 2020. Tampa Bay has outscored Baltimore, 121-55, this season while scoring at least five runs in 13 of their 15 games. That success against the Orioles has played a big part in the Rays' 38-18 overall record within the American League East, including a 32-10 mark in their last 42 games within the division.

Aug. 17: Rays 10, Orioles 0 -- Zunino's home run streak
Mike Zunino set a career high with his 26th home run of the season, surpassing the previous high of 25 he set with the Mariners in 2017. He's also homered in five consecutive games, tied for the second-longest streak in Rays history (with Jose Canseco, from May 16-21, 1999) and behind only Carlos Peña (six straight from June 6-12, 2010). Additionally, Zunino has done his damage in only 247 at-bats over 82 games. His 9.50 at-bat/homer ratio has been matched by only five players in AL/NL history: Barry Bonds (2001-04), Jim Thome (2002), Sammy Sosa (2001), Mark McGwire (1995-2000) and Babe Ruth (1920-21, '27).

Aug. 16: Rays 9, Orioles 2 -- Rays blast five homers
Tampa Bay hit a season-high-tying five homers and broke out for nine runs in its series-opening win over Baltimore, the eighth time in the last 10 games the Rays have scored at least eight runs. They have averaged 6.5 runs per game since July 23, the highest rate in the Majors, and they lead the American League with 51 homers in 25 games since July 20. Despite a few quiet losses in Minnesota, Tampa Bay turned it on lately by blasting 24 homers in its last nine games and 38 in its last 16. The Rays seem to thrive the most against the Orioles, having won 12 of 13 matchups this season while outscoring them by 52 runs (103-51).

Aug. 15: Twins 5, Rays 4 -- Wander powers up from left
Switch-hitting Wander Franco has been "locked in" from the get-go as a right-handed hitter, according to hitting coach Chad Mottola. But swinging from the left side has given Franco his share of troubles, as evidenced by his .577 OPS vs. righties this year. That wasn't the case in the series finale at Target Field, though, as Franco lifted a first-pitch slider over the right-field wall against righty Edgar García. Franco now has three homers apiece from the left and right sides of the plate, albeit in nearly twice the at-bats (106 as a lefty, 58 as a righty).

Aug. 14: Twins 12, Rays 0 -- Wacha's August woes
The month of August has not been kind to Michael Wacha. The middle game of this series marked his third consecutive start with five-plus earned runs allowed. He has yielded 30 hits and 18 runs in a three-start span, and a key factor in his struggles has been an inability to retire the leadoff batter of an inning. Leadoff hitters have a .443 on-base percentage against him this season (39-for-88), including a 3-for-5 effort by Minnesota in this one.

Aug. 13: Rays 10, Twins 4 -- Zunino extends HR streak
Despite a .204 batting average entering the series opener at Target Field, Mike Zunino has plenty of pop in his bat, and he's starting to prove that nearly every game. With his fourth-inning home run off Twins reliever Nick Vincent, Zunino went deep for the 24th time this season and marked his third consecutive game with a dinger. That's the second time Zunino has homered in three straight contests in his career, the only other instance coming from Aug. 18-22, 2016, when he was with the Mariners.

Aug. 12: Rays 8, Red Sox 1 -- Rays reach 70-win mark
The Rays became the first American League team to win 70 games this season. This is the first time in Tampa Bay's 24-year franchise history that the club has won 70 of its first 115 games, surpassing the pace of the 2008 and '10 teams that each won 69 of its first 115. This was also the sixth straight game the Rays scored at least eight runs, a franchise record. That is also the longest such streak in the Majors since the Cardinals' six-game stretch from Aug. 6-11, 2017, and the longest by an AL team since the Rangers' six-game streak from May 31-June 5, 2008.

Aug. 11: Red Sox 20, Rays 8 -- Tough turn on the mound
Wednesday’s loss was the sixth time in franchise history that the Rays allowed at least 20 runs in a game, and the first since a 21-4 defeat to the Yankees on July 22, 2007. They allowed a season-high 19 hits, their most in a game since also allowing 19 on May 13, 2018. And they issued a season-high nine walks, their most in a game since walking 10 against the Astros on Aug. 29, 2019. Left-hander Josh Fleming was responsible for most of the damage, giving up 10 runs on 11 hits and six walks in 3 1/3 innings; the 17 baserunners he allowed (including two intentional walks) tied Tampa Bay’s franchise record held by Tanyon Sturtze (also 17 and also in Boston on May 6, 2002).

Aug. 10: Rays 8, Red Sox 4 -- Good things come in fives
The Rays (69-44) improved their winning streak to five games on Tuesday, moving to a season-high 25 games over .500. They've come from behind to win each of those five games, giving them a Major League-leading 36 comeback victories this season. Tampa Bay has also now won six straight games against Boston this season, tying the longest winning streak against the Red Sox in franchise history (also Aug. 16-Sept. 15, 2011, and July 24-Sept. 21, 2019).

Aug. 8: Rays 9, Orioles 6 -- Good things to those who wait
The Rays have scored a Major League-leading 215 runs in the seventh inning or later this season. They have outscored their opponents 41-8 in the seventh or later in 10 road games since the All-Star break.

Aug. 7: Rays 12, Orioles 3 -- Slammin' Brandon
Brandon Lowe hit a grand slam off the left-field foul pole off Orioles reliever César Valdez in the eighth inning. It was the second grand slam by Lowe on the season and fifth for the Rays. Lowe also leads the team with 24 homers.

Aug. 6: Rays 10, Orioles 6 -- Yandy's hot shot
Since his debut in 2017, Yandy Díaz has made consistent hard contact -- for example, during his at-bat in the sixth inning. Díaz smacked a 113.5 mph groundout off Orioles reliever Conner Greene, his hardest-hit ball of the season and second hardest of his career. On May 11, 2019, he smacked a home run that left his bat at 114.3 mph.

Aug. 4: Rays 4, Mariners 3 -- Randy's heating up
Randy Arozarena went 2-for-4 with a two-run triple and a double. He has reached base safely in 13 of his last 14 games and recorded multiple hits in 10 of those contests. Overall during that 14-game stretch, he's hit .404/.443/.842 with 12 extra-base hits (six homers, five doubles and a triple) while putting together three games with multiple extra-base hits. Arozarena's two-run triple in this game gave the Rays a lead, and 18 of his 52 RBIs this season have either tied games or put Tampa Bay ahead. The Rays know what the postseason hero can do when he gets rolling, so perhaps this is just the start of a long tear.

"We were hoping that he can get hot, and we know what he can do when he's really hot," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Hopefully he can find that rhythm there and just continue for the next couple weeks and maybe two months. Whatever it takes. He's such a big part of our offense."

Aug. 3: Mariners 4, Rays 2 -- Little luck vs. lefties
The Rays fell to 24-20 on the season against left-handed starters, compared 40-24 against right-handers. Tampa Bay has been one of the Majors' least productive clubs against left-handed pitchers this season, hitting just .226/.303/.378, while having more at-bats against southpaws (1,327) than any other team in baseball.

Aug. 2: Mariners 8, Rays 2 -- Mariners a mystery to Rays
The Rays' loss on Monday night dropped them to 1-7 against the Mariners since Aug. 19, 2019, and 6-15 against them at Tropicana Field since 2014 -- their worst home record against any team (minimum five games) during that stretch. Tampa Bay is 0-5 against Seattle this season, a big factor in the club's 13-16 record against the American League West. Against non-AL West opponents, the Rays are 51-26.

Aug. 1: Rays 3, Red Sox 2 -- High-stakes sweep
By taking three straight against the Red Sox over the weekend, the Rays completed their eighth sweep of three games or more this season, most in the American League and tied with the Brewers for most in the Majors. Tampa Bay swept Boston in a series of three games or more for the 10th time in franchise history. Additionally, the Rays handed the Red Sox just their second sweep of the season -- their first since a season-opening series sweep against the Orioles from April 2-4. The Rays have now won five in a row against the Red Sox after losing their first four matchups this season, using the last three to gain a 1 1/2-game lead in the AL East.