ESPN pundit doesn’t take Rays seriously despite hot start: ‘Put a lot of cold water on this winning streak’
The Tampa Bay Rays are on fire to start the 2023 Major League Baseball season, but not everyone is taking them seriously.
The Rays moved to 11-0 on the season with a 7-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night, moving to within one win of setting a franchise-record winning streak.
Despite Tampa Bay’s start, ESPN pundit Chris “Mad Dog” Russo is not taking the Rays seriously as World Series contenders due to who they’ve beaten.
RAYS PICK UP NINTH STRAIGHT VICTORY, WINNING BY MARGIN NOT SEEN SINCE 1800S
“Absolutely not. Let me throw cold water on it,” Russo said Wednesday on “First Take” when asked if Tampa Bay would get back to a World Series.
“The Rays have beaten the Tigers, the Nats, the Athletics — who are a Triple-A team — and the Red Sox, who they always beat,” he continued. “Twelve in a row in Tampa. I do not take them seriously as a world championship team. They’ll win 90 games. But I put a lot of cold water on this winning streak.”
Tampa Bay made the World Series in 2020, losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games.
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The Rays' four opponents to start the season have a combined record of 13-31 as the team attempts to tie the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers and the 1982 Atlanta Braves for the best start to a season in MLB history on Wednesday.
Tampa Bay is one of just four teams since 1901 to win their first 11 games of the season.
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“The history of it is not lost on us,” Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe said Tuesday. “We understand what’s happening, but we’re not putting any added pressure on anything. We’re not staring at our schedule or staring at our record right now. … And it’s not one guy doing it. It’s nice knowing that it’s one through nine, and if you don’t get the job done, the next guy will.”
During the winning streak, Tampa Bay has launched 29 home runs, tying the 2000 St. Louis Cardinals for the most home runs through 11 games.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.