Jul 18, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Ben Zobrist (18), center fielder Desmond Jennings (8) and right fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) play rock paper scissors after beating the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The Rays won 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Sweep of Minnesota Twins Exactly What Tampa Bay Rays Needed

The Tampa Bay Rays are going to need an exceptional second half of the season to make the MLB playoffs, but a series sweep against the Minnesota Twins out of the gates was exactly what this team needed.

The three-game sweep pushed the Rays record to 47-53 and means they have won five straight. They sit 7.5 games back in the AL East and are six behind in the wild card chase.

Joe Maddon has said himself that if the Rays are to make the postseason they need to make sure they win series. Starting that trend right after the All-Star break was the perfect place to begin.

It started Friday night with a 6-2 win that saw Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria drive in five of the team’s six runs and also had Curt Casali make his first career start, while also picking up his first base hit. It also helped that Alex Cobb gave them a good start.

Saturday saw David Price go eight innings giving up just four hits as the Rays won comfortably 5-1 behind Sean Rodriguez’s three RBI game.

On Sunday, Chris Archer gave his side 6.2 innings of six hit ball while giving up just one run in a 5-3 victory.

Over the three games, the Rays scored 16 runs and collected 35 hits. More importantly, they gave up just a total of six runs.

It was critical the Rays started the ‘second half’ of the season well so as to remain in the postseason hunt.

The Rays just need to keep picking away at their deficit and winning series will accomplish that.

Of course, winning puts general manager Andrew Friedman in a bind as he must still decide whether to move Price, Zobrist and others in trades or hang on to them for a potential postseason run. However, everyone hopes it’s the latter

If there’s one team that can still make the postseason after a disastrous start, it’s a Maddon led Tampa Bay team.

Tags: Tampa Bay Rays

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