After leaving Port Charlotte, their spring training home, baseball experts and fans thought the Rays would have troubles with their bullpen.

After their 0-6 start, baseball experts and fans thought they were just bad.

Manny Ramirez was caught doping again and retired after a week. Superstar third baseman Evan Longoria strained his oblique and is out for a few weeks. The entire lineup looked like the 2002 Devil Rays.

It just looked hopeless.

But now, after four straight victories against the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins, does it look like the Tampa Bay Rays are back in business? Check the stats.

Although they are not where they need to be when it comes to batting average, they are starting to pick it up in the RBI department with 40 so far this season. Their starting pitching is coming to its own with the exception of Jeff Niemann, who has an 8.31 ERA.

Everyone else on the five man staff has ERAs ranging from three to four. While none of them has shown the power to strike out batters yet, they might have grasped the concept of pitching to bad contact and getting outs that don’t require multiple pitches.

And the Tampa Bay Rays have the two most important things that will push them up in the standings: a closer and a leader. Johnny Damon has hit 9-for-27 since Ramirez retired and has three home runs and 11 RBI so far this season. Kyle Farnsworth is three-for-three in save opportunities and has established himself as the closer for the Rays.

So after four consecutive victories, are the Rays back? You bet your sweet behind they are!

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