ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Despite having 17 players on the injured list, which is the most of any team in Major League Baseball, the Rays continue to find ways to win. They have won three-straight games and currently sit atop the American League Wild Card standings.
“It is unfortunate (to have so many injuries),” said Rays outfielder Brett Phillips. “But I think it’s a testament to the front office, the scouting department, the guys who have come up and taken advantage of the opportunity, who might not have been ready for that next step but have come up and have really helped us and put us in a position to succeed and win like we are now.”
“Just kind of that next man up mentality,” said Rays pitcher Shane McClanahan. “It doesn’t matter who’s out there. We’re going to go out there and give our best effort and try and win as many games as we can.”
“Everybody that comes up or down or whatever it may be is always ready. Brady (Williams) and the Durham team—and throughout our organization—we do such a good job of developing players and getting them ready so when times like this happen, they’re ready to step-in and play,” said Rays infielder Taylor Walls. “Everybody here is capable of doing it. It only takes a chance for them and everybody’s ready. They’re out there looking for the opportunity and when they get it, they’re going to try to take full advantage of it.”
The Rays have four games left before the MLB All-Star break, with one more against the Red Sox Thursday night before a three-game series with the Orioles. These division games are always important ones– especially now, to gain some ground in the standings and take some momentum into the second half.
“It’s huge,” Walls said. “Ultimately I feel like this division’s probably one of the strongest in baseball. Any time we match-up against a team in our division, we need to try to win as many games as possible. It’s going to put some weight off of our shoulders in the second half to try to win needed games. The bigger we can make that gap now, the better off we’ll be.”
“It’s very important as always when you’re facing the (AL) East,” Phillips said. “You have an opportunity to get a leg up in that race. The Yankees have obviously been playing really good baseball, but I think we’ve got to continue to just play our baseball, regardless of what the Yankees are doing and regardless of what anyone else is doing—stay the course and play the Rays way and I think we’ll be right where we need to be at the end of the year.”