FLUSHING, NY — Take a look at the Tampa Bay Rays starting lineup Tuesday evening at Citi Field:
A lineup manager Kevin Cash presented with diversity of lefty-righty up-and-down, a catalyst of success for the best team in baseball, 32-11 after their 8-5 win Tuesday night over the struggling Mets. The Rays have the most wins by a team through their first 43 games of the season since the 2001 Mariners won 32 of their first 43.
Now, back to that lineup. Seven of the nine are either from Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Panama. A majority of the Ray’ roster is a representation of Major League Baseball and significance of the Latino ballplayer.
And the Tampa Bay Rays are an example of hard work, athletic, young, and they play winning baseball, a team pacing the majors in runs scored. Their pitching staff surrenders the fewest runs.
Three more home runs Tuesday night, two against Justin Verlander. The Rays have hit 84 home runs through their first 43 games, the third most by a team in that span behind the 1999 Mariners (85) and the 2000 Cardinals (89).
“We have a lot of good players,” Isaac Paredes (Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico) said through an interpreter. ”It doesn’t surprise me that we’re hitting them out,” he said about the Rays and their tendency to hit a lot of home runs that have them leading baseball by a wide margin.
Paredes got to Verlander twice, his fourth career multi-home run game, In the third, though, after a one-out double to Christian Bethancourt (Panama City, Panama) that led to a two-out single from Harold Ramirez (Cartagena, Colombia) the Rays piled a 4-0 lead.
But it was that first home run of the night, a hanging curve that went into the left-field seats in the third that put the Rays ahead 3-0.
Later in the fifth, Parades got to Verlander again off a fastball that went to the left field seats off the foul pole. His fifth home run of the season that Paredes thought would be a long foul ball.
“Off the bat, I thought it would be foul,”he said. “My mentality was to go up there and do well against those guys.”
bop 'em pic.twitter.com/CpTSAPTgkt
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 17, 2023
Jose Siri (Sabana, Grande de Boya, Dominican Republic) hit a solo home run to left center in the sixth inning that also traveled to the highest exit velocity of his career, his 5th off Jake Diekman.
But this was against Justin Verlander, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner of last year, one of those high profiled players on a Mets roster that has the highest payroll in baseball.
These Rays, though, also have a lineup that constantly makes contact. It is not done solely with the home run ball. They have good team chemistry and are composed of those Latino names in the lineup.
Paredes and the Rays have been in New York since last Thursday. They split a four-game and exciting series in the Bronx against the Yankees, three of the four decided by a run.
In the Bronx, their home run average increased. Paredes, though, did not join the club, instead in five straight games he has gone 8-for-15, two home runs, a double, seven RBI, and five runs scored.
“It brings a lot of confidence joining all these guys,” Paredes said about his Latino teammates in the Rays lineup. “It helps to communicate on the field. It helps our confidence”
He is aware of the annual Latino Sports MVP Award and said, “That represents the Latino ballplayer accomplishments and we are very proud to be recognized”
And the Rays with this lineup have that confidence. Until further notice pay attention to those names because right now they are tough to beat.
Rich Mancuso Co-Editor and Senior Writer LatinoSports.com Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso.
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