* Sports Illustrated’s 2019 MLB Preview has the Rays ranked fourth in the American League and likes their chances of earning a post-season wild card. “This is a playoff-caliber team, but the division (Red Sox, Yankees) is a bear,” summarized SI.
* “World Series or Bust.” That was how Rays Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Blake Snell characterized the 2019 season. A couple of days later, it was Snell on the mound for opening day against the Houston Astros–and the chance to set that “World Series” tempo. It was, alas, a “bust.” The Rays lost; Snell hadn’t pitched that poorly at home all last year. Then two days later he was officially honored with the presentation of his AL Cy Young Award, which was also, uh, Blake Snell bobblehead night. Timing is everything in a four-game series where the only game the Rays lost was the one that Snell pitched.