Michael Perez, here being congratulated by Willy Adames after hitting a home run in a game against the Baltimore Orioles, is optimistic for the first playoff cross against the Toronto Blue Jays. (Chris O'Meara)
The Tampa Bay Rays have every reason to celebrate their superb performance in the regular season.
Not only did they come in first place in the competitive East Division, but they finished as the top seed in the group of eight that will participate in the playoffs.
The celebration is over, and the Rays (40-20) are preparing for the first match in the playoffs with the surprising Toronto Blue Jays of Puerto Rican Charlie Montoyo in a series to a maximum of three games .
Toronto finished in eighth place with a 32-28 record.
“You have to keep playing good ball when the playoffs come. Play in the same way that we have been playing. If we continue like this, taking advantage of the opportunities and mistakes of the other teams, I think we will be in a good position, “said Puerto Rican receiver for the Rays, Michael Pérez.
“We played a lot against Toronto this year. They have good equipment. Lot of talent. That series is going to be interesting. Let's see what happens. Charlie is a tremendous person, but I go to mine, “he said. “The regular season is over and the important thing is the playoffs and keep working hard.”
Tampa had to deal with multiple injury bouts during the season, but they still managed to dominate the season almost entirely.
The Rays were charged once again for their pitching. They finished third in the AL in team ERA with 3.63.
“We have a good team. Young people with great pitching. We are happy. After so many things that have happened and are still happening. It has not been easy for everyone and actually achieving something like this is extremely important. I am very grateful for the opportunity to belong to this team, ”added the substitute receiver.
“It is no surprise. This is the most difficult division and we made it thanks to God despite all the situations we went through, the ups and downs, the injuries we had. I think it was half of the team injured. But the guys who came up did the job. Everything was very nice ”.
Unhappy with their numbers
On an individual level, Pérez is not very satisfied with the performance he had this season, although it is worth noting that he was involved in several of the team's triumphs after hitting the decisive hit. Pérez finished the season with a .173 average with one home run and 13 RBIs. He had 81 at-bats.
“I'm honestly not happy with that. To get a good rhythm one has to take more consistent turns. I don't control that. What I can control my work. Give 100% every time I'm there. There were several games at key moments that I helped the team win and I'm happy with that.