This past Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Pirates started a three-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays with a 20-9 record.
That series finished on Thursday, and the Pirates are now 20-12.
Yes, the Rays understood the Pirates were perhaps the National League’s hottest team, and they were at the top of their game to secure an impressive sweep.
.@RaysBaseball completes the sweep and moves to 20 games over .500! pic.twitter.com/wwUjwHbeiu
— MLB (@MLB) May 4, 2023
The Rays now lead the AL East with an incredible 26-6 record.
The next-best team in MLB, the Atlanta Braves, sit at 21-10, 4.5 games behind Tampa.
The Rays have put on a clinic of how to run an organization, make the right moves, focus on improving their own players, and find bargain deals both in free agency and the trade market.
They are MLB’s most analytics-driven organization, and their approach is working to perfection.
They defeated the Pirates by a final of 3-2 on Thursday, thanks to an incredible pitching performance by free-agent signing Zach Eflin.
The right-hander struck out 10 and didn’t walk anybody in seven scoreless innings to take his ERA to an excellent 2.25.
Three solo home runs were enough for the Rays to secure the win and the sweep: Yandy Diaz, Randy Arozarena, and Taylor Walls all went yard against the Pirates.
Pittsburgh was competitive in the series for the most part, but they got a dose of reality and looked nowhere near the Rays’ level.
They shouldn’t feel bad, however, because no one is.
Tampa is, with some argument, the best and most skilled baseball team in the world at this moment.
The rest of the league is one step behind in everything they do.