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Best starts in MLB history: How the Rays’ 13-0 record stacks up

Tampa Bay topped Boston for its 13th straight win to start the season, but where do they stack up in MLB history?

Wander Franco and Manuel Margot of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate winning a game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on April 12, 2023 in St Petersburg, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

No one has come out of the gates faster in this 2023 MLB season than the Tampa Bay Rays. The team has steamrolled through the first two weeks, capped off by a four-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox to move to 13-0 on the year. They’ve done it in dominating fashion, too, outscoring their opposition by a score of 101-30.

Granted, that opposition hasn’t been the fiercest — the Rays have faced the Detroit Tigers, Oakland Athletics and Washington Nationals in addition to the Red Sox so far, who entered play on Thursday with a combined record of 14-34 — but you can only play the teams on your schedule, and 13-0 is 13-0. Plus, well, they just look the part.

But while Tampa’s start has undoubtedly been impressive, how does it compare to the best in MLB history?

The best starts in MLB history

The Rays had already wrapped up the best start to a season in the Wild Card era (since 1994), but their win on Thursday moved them into a three-way tie for the best start in any era. The record had been held by the 1982 Atlanta Braves and the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers, both of whom also started 13-0. Here’s the full list:

Best starts to a season in MLB history

Year Team Starting Streak Final Record Result
Year Team Starting Streak Final Record Result
1982 Atlanta Braves 13-0 89-73 1st in NL East, lost 3-0 to Cardinals in NLCS
1987 Milwaukee Brewers 13-0 91-71 3rd in AL East, missed postseason
2023 Tampa Bay Rays 13-0 TBD TBD
1981* Oakland Athletics 11-0 37-23; 27-22 1st & 2nd in AL West, lost 3-0 to Yankees in ALCS
1955 Brooklyn Dodgers 10-0 98-55 1st in NL, defeated Yankees 4-3 in World Series
1962 Pittsburgh Pirates 10-0 93-63 4th in NL, missed postseason
1966 Cleveland Indians 10-0 81-81 5th in AL, missed postseason
1918 New York Giants 9-0 71-53 2nd in NL, missed postseason
1940 Brooklyn Dodgers 9-0 88-65 2nd in NL, missed postseason
1944 St. Louis Browns 9-0 89-65 1st in AL, lost World Series 4-2 to Cardinals
1984 Detroit Tigers 9-0 104-58 1st in AL East, won World Series 4-1 vs. Padres
1990 Cincinnati Reds 9-0 91-71 1st in NL West, won World Series 4-0 vs. Athletics
2003 Kansas City Royals 9-0 83-79 3rd in AL Central, missed postseason

As you can see, it didn’t work out too well in the long run for either of baseball history’s other 13-0 teams. If the Rays keep playing like this, though, we’d be willing to bet on a different outcome in 2023. (A personal favorite stat from this bonkers stretch: Tampa currently has more home runs hit than runs allowed.)

The schedule will certainly stiffen up for Tampa — next up is a trip to Toronto for a three-game weekend set against a dangerous Blue Jays team. First pitch is set for 7:07 p.m. ET from Rogers Centre, with Drew Rasmussen looking to pitch the Rays to 14-0 against Jose Berrios.