Hard to find weak links with Rays 

October, 21, 2008
10/21/08
3:33
PM ET
Good to see that Tim Marchman wasn't out of work for long. His take on your American League champions:

    What makes the Rays so good? Start with defense. The Rays ranked first in baseball in defensive efficiency this year, which measures how many balls in play they turn into outs. Jason Bartlett, a great-field/no-hit shortstop of a kind that's been out of fashion for at least a decade, showed how they do it in the second inning, materializing from the ether behind second base to rob Mark Kotsay of a base hit. You won't see ostentatious dives from the Rays, but you will see them in areas of the field they have no business being in. Bartlett, left fielder Carl Crawford, first baseman Carlos Pena, and second baseman Akinori Iwamura all rated among the top three in the league at their positions in making plays outside of their zones -- that is, ranging beyond the space they're supposed to cover to corral balls that would otherwise go for fits. With all those great fielders, the Rays play like they have 10 men on the field.

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