Tampa Bay Rays Tie MLB Record With 13th Straight Win Despite Pitiful Payroll, Attendance

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The Tampa Bay Rays are enjoying one of the most historic, unlikely starts to a season in MLB history.

With their 10th consecutive win just a few days ago, the Rays accomplished something that hadn’t been seen in 36 years.


But as of Thursday afternoon, their start has gotten even more historic.

Trailing 3-1 to the Boston Red Sox in the bottom of the 5th inning, the Rays exploded for seven runs.

They added another run on a Brandon Lowe homer to seal another commanding 9-3 victory.

The dominant come from behind win tied the all time MLB record for most consecutive wins to start a season.

But what might be the most impressive part of this streak is how unexpected it is, given the Rays minuscule payroll.

ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – APRIL 13: Brandon Lowe #8 celebrates with Wander Franco #5 of the Tampa Bay Rays after hitting a home run in the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on April 13, 2023 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

The Numbers Behind the Rays

There are any number of incredible statistical achievements for Tampa through the first 13 games.

  • 101 runs scored, 22 more than the second place Dodgers
  • More home runs (32) than runs allowed (30)
  • One fewer home run than total runs scored than the Detroit Tigers (33)
  • The best run differential to start a season in MLB history
  • Outscoring opponents by an average of 5.46 runs per game, a rate that equates to a +885 differential over the course of a full season

The league worst Oakland A’s have allowed 101 runs to start the season, meaning the Rays have turned opposing pitchers into the A’s and opposing hitters into the Tigers. Those teams are a combined 5-19.

That’s all incredible enough, but it’s made all the more amazing by the Rays unbelievably low payroll and fan support.

According to Fangraphs, Tampa has an estimated payroll of just $77 million. That’s roughly $300 million less than the New York Mets.

The gap between the two teams would be the second highest payroll in the league.

The combined salaries on the roster equate to roughly what the Yankees are paying for just Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole. Yet the Rays have already opened up a 4.5 game lead on New York.

Even with this unprecedented success, fans in Tampa/St. Pete just don’t seem to care very much.

While it was an early afternoon start time, the Rays drew just 21,175 fans on Thursday.

That far exceeded the season average, which is 16,770. For a team that hasn’t lost and could set an MLB record.

Tampa’s built a consistent competitor on tiny payrolls with little fan support. To this point, it’s been one of the most impressive starts in MLB’s long history.

Whether or not this helps increase attendance going forward remains to be seen. But oh boy do they deserve better than what they’ve gotten so far.

Written by Ian Miller

Ian Miller is a former award watching high school actor, author, and long suffering Dodgers fan. He spends most of his time golfing, traveling, reading about World War I history, and trying to get the remote back from his dog. Follow him on Twitter @ianmSC

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