2007 Tampa Bay Devil Rays season

MLB yearly infobox
name = Tampa Bay Devil Rays
season = 2007
misc =

current league = American League
y1 = 1998
division = Eastern Division
y2 = 1998
ballpark = Tropicana Field
y4 = 1998
city = St. Petersburg, Florida
y5 = 1998
owners = Stuart Sternberg
managers = Joe Maddon
television = FSN Florida
radio = WHNZ
WGES (Spanish)|

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays' 2007 season, the 10th season in franchise history, involved the Devil Rays trying to improve on their 2006 season, where they finished last in the American League East Division, and managed to finish the season with a league-worst record of 61-101. During the offseason they signed Japanese infielder Akinori Iwamura to a three year deal. Their manager was Joe Maddon who entered his 2nd season with the Devil Rays.

Although the Rays again finished last in the division, they improved their record by five games, to 66-96. Their season attendance increased by 18,653 to 1,387,603. This marks the first time home attendance has increased in consecutive seasons. Joe Maddon's option years through 2009 were picked up by the club on September 8, 2007. The season was marked by incredible pitching performances by club ace Scott Kazmir and rookie James Shields, and the bats of club standby Carl Crawford; rookies Delmon Young, B.J. Upton and Brendan Harris; and free agents Akinori Iwamura and Carlos Peña. Several club single-season records fell during the course of the season.

Regular season

The Devil Rays opened their 2007 season April 2, on the road against the defending division champion New York Yankees. The bullpen blew a lead and Tampa Bay lost, 9-5 [ [http://tampabay.devilrays.mlb.com/news/wrap.jsp?ymd=20070402&content_id=1875186&vkey=wrapup2005&fext=.jsp&team=away The Official Site of Major League Baseball: News: Game Wrapup ] ] , but came back to win the third game, 7-6 (the second of the opening series was rained out). They suffered a setback in the middle of April when new third baseman Iwamura, off to a hot start with a .339 batting average to that point, suffered an oblique strain and went on the disabled list. [ [http://tampabay.devilrays.mlb.com/news/press_releases/press_release.jsp?ymd=20070424&content_id=1927263&vkey=pr_tb&fext=.jsp&c_id=tb The Official Site of The Tampa Bay Rays: Official Info: Rays place Iwamura on DL, recall Cantu ] ] However, the team continued to play better than in past years, and on May 4 moved into a tie for second place, the latest that Tampa Bay had been that high in the standings since the 1999 season. [ [http://tampabay.devilrays.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070504&content_id=1945935&vkey=news_tb&fext=.jsp&c_id=tb The Official Site of The Tampa Bay Rays: News: Notes: Rays rising in standings ] ]

The Rays trailed off going into May, falling eventually back into last place, but surged into their series in Orlando, Florida, against the Texas Rangers, which they swept. After the series with the Rangers, they won only one of the next seven games, skidding to a then season low, nine games below .500.

After a 9-4 win against the Dodgers to improve their record to 33-40 on June 24, the Devil Rays went on to lose 11 straight games and went on to lose 13 of 14 games since the Dodgers series and went into the All-Star Break 34-53. After the break it wasn't much better losing 3 games out of 4 against the Yankees in their 1st series after the break and went on to lose 8 straight games between July 21 to July 28. The low point of that Losing streak were two dismal losses to the Yankees. One game losing 17-5 and the other 21-4. The Rays' lack of pitching between their two aces and closer Al Reyes led to the coining of the idiom, "Kazmir and Shields, then off come the wheels."

For the Devil Rays it was a July to forget but things were getting better in August. Improvements made to the bullpen at the trade deadline led to shorter losing streaks and, eventually, more series wins. On August 11, Starting pitcher Edwin Jackson pitched the Devil Rays 1st complete game shutout of the year in a 3-0 win against the Rangers. On August 25, Pitcher Scott Kazmir went 8 innings with a career high 13 strikeouts in a 14-3 win against the Oakland Athletics and in that series the Rays took 3 of 4 games out scoring the A's 33 to 9 in the last three games of that series. The hot streak continued with a sweep of the tailspinning Baltimore Orioles and series wins at the Yankees and home against the Orioles and the Blue Jays before finally losing 2 of 3 at the Boston Red Sox and splitting a 4-game series at the Seattle Mariners.

Their September upswing ensured that they would finish the 2007 season with a better record than the 2006 season. They did, however, hobble into the end of the season, with Carl Crawford's season-ending groin pull in late-September contributing to a 5-13 finish. They did win their final game of the season, though, giving hope for next year.

New team records

Andy Sonnanstine broke a team record with seven consecutive strikeouts on June 10 in a victory over the Florida Marlins, his first win of the season.

On September 3, Carlos Peña broke the club single-season home run record, previously 34, held by José Canseco (by|1999) and Aubrey Huff (by|2003). Peña's 35th was a two-run homer off Jim Hoey in the seventh inning of a 9-7 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. On September 16, he became the first Rays player to hit 40 home runs in a season, the 40th being a leadoff homer coming off Jarrod Washburn in the 4th inning of a 9-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners. His 45th home run came off Dustin McGowan in the 5th inning of a 5-4 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays; it was the second of back-to-back homers, following Jorge Velandia's second homer of the season.

On September 27, Peña took the RBI record, previously set by Jorge Cantú at 117 in by|2005. He tied it with an RBI single in the 1st inning for his 117th, and broke it with a solo home run in the 5th inning for his 118th. Both RBIs were off Chien-Ming Wang in a 12-4 loss to the New York Yankees. He finished the season with 46 home runs, 121 RBIs and a 1.037 OPS (.411 OBP, .627 SLG, both Rays season records), becoming the first Devil Ray to finish a season with at least a 1.000 OPS. Peña went on to win Comeback Player of the Year honors for the American League.

Carl Crawford approached the 1,000-hit plateau, but a groin pull in late September ended his season early, leaving him stuck at 990 career hits. He will most likely become the first Devil Ray to hit 1,000 hits with the club early next season. It will not be the first four-digit hit milestone for the club; Wade Boggs got his 3,000th hit while with the team in by|1999. His injury, however, did not prevent him from finishing the season with a share of the AL stolen base title with Brian Roberts of the Baltimore Orioles. Both players finished the year with 50, marking the fourth time he's led or shared the lead in that category for a year.

Delmon Young became the first Rays rookie to play in every game of a 162-game season, setting a team record for most at bats taken in a season with 645. He is the second Rays player ever to play in every game in a season, after Aubrey Huff in 2003. Young was held from the lineup for the last game of the season after not hustling to first on a ground ball during the previous game, but apologized for not giving that game his all and entered the final game as a mid-game replacement. At the end of the season, he was considered a leading candidate for the AL Rookie of the Year award.

On September 10, Scott Kazmir became the first Rays pitcher to record 200 strikeouts in a season, in a 1-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox. His 200th strikeout victim for the year was Coco Crisp. He ultimately claimed the A.L. strikeout title, finishing the year with 239. (A one-game playoff permitted Jake Peavy to take the MLB strikeout title with 240.) Kazmir is also the first D-Ray starter to finish a season with at least 10 strikeouts per 9 innings (10.41).

During the course of the season, Scott Kazmir became the first Rays starting pitcher to log enough starts and innings to begin compiling rate-based team all-time pitching records, such as ERA.

eason standings

Game log


*Game Logs::1st Half: [http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/teams/schedule?team=tam&season=2007&seasonType=2&half=1 Tampa Bay Devil Rays Game Log] on ESPN.com:2nd Half: [http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/teams/schedule?team=tam&season=2007&seasonType=2&half=2 Tampa Bay Devil Rays Game Log] on ESPN.com
*Batting Statistics: [http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/teams/stats?team=tam Tampa Bay Devil Rays Batting Stats] on ESPN.com
*Pitching Statistics: [http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/teams/pitching?team=tam Tampa Bay Devil Rays Pitching Stats] on ESPN.com

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