Clash of Contenders: Atlanta Braves Vs. Tampa Bay Rays Rivalry

Kevin Smith

braves vs rays

The clash between the Atlanta Braves and the Tampa Bay Rays in Major League Baseball has fostered an intriguing and evolving rivalry.

While not as historically significant as some other MLB matchups, this interleague competition has carved its place in the hearts of baseball enthusiasts.

The Braves, with their rich legacy and passionate fanbase, stand in contrast to the Rays, a younger franchise striving to establish a dedicated following.

As these teams continue to meet on the field, their matchups offer moments of drama, excitement, and budding stars leaving their mark.

This introduction sets the stage for a captivating exploration of the Atlanta Braves vs. Tampa Bay Rays rivalry.

History: Atlanta Braves Vs Tampa Bay Rays

Franchise History

  • Atlanta Braves: The Braves franchise has one of the longest and richest histories in Major League Baseball. They were established in 1871 and have gone through several name changes and relocations before settling in Atlanta in 1966.
    The team enjoyed considerable success during the late 1990s and early 2000s, winning numerous division titles and the World Series in 1995. They are known for their dominant pitching rotations and iconic players like Hank Aaron, Chipper Jones, and Greg Maddux.

  • Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays are a relatively young franchise, established in 1998. They began as the “Tampa Bay Devil Rays” before dropping the “Devil” from their name in 2008.
    In their early years, the team struggled to find success and often finished at the bottom of their division.
    However, they experienced a remarkable turnaround in the late 2000s and 2010s, becoming a competitive force in the American League. Notable players like Evan Longoria and David Price were key figures during this era.

World Series Appearances

  • Atlanta Braves: The Braves have made multiple World Series appearances throughout their history. They won titles in 1914, 1957 (as the Milwaukee Braves), and 1995 (as the Atlanta Braves). They also reached the World Series in 1991, 1992, 1996, and 1999 but fell short.

  • Tampa Bay Rays: As of September 2021, the Rays had only made one World Series appearance, which came in 2008. In a hard-fought series, they faced the Philadelphia Phillies but ultimately lost in five games.

Division Titles

  • Atlanta Braves: The Braves have dominated their division throughout their history. As of September 2021, they had won numerous division titles, particularly during their remarkable run of 14 consecutive National League East titles from 1991 to 2005.

  • Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays’ success in the American League East division had significantly improved since the late 2000s. As of September 2021, they had won the AL East title twice, in 2008 and 2010.

Hall of Fame Players

  • Atlanta Braves: The Braves boast an impressive list of Hall of Fame players who have left a lasting impact on the game of baseball. Legendary figures like Hank Aaron, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz are some of the prominent Braves players enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

  • Tampa Bay Rays: As a younger franchise, the Rays had not yet had many players inducted into the Hall of Fame as of September 2021.
    However, players like Wade Boggs, who spent a portion of his career with the team, and potentially others like Evan Longoria and David Price, might receive consideration in the future.

Fanbase: Atlanta Braves Vs Tampa Bay Rays

Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves have one of the most passionate and dedicated fanbases in Major League Baseball. They have a long and storied history, dating back to their establishment in 1871.

The team’s success over the years, including multiple World Series appearances and a strong presence in the playoffs, has helped solidify their fanbase and attract supporters from various generations.

The Braves’ fanbase extends beyond the city of Atlanta and reaches throughout the southeastern United States, including states like Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and the Carolinas.

The team’s iconic “Tomahawk Chop” chant and tradition have become synonymous with their games and energize the crowd during both home and away games.

Braves fans are known for their loyalty and deep connection to the team, often filling up Truist Park (formerly SunTrust Park) and creating an electrifying atmosphere during games.

The Braves’ presence in the community and their history of legendary players have contributed to the team’s strong and dedicated following.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays, being a younger franchise, have had to work harder to build their fanbase over the years.

When the team was established in 1998, it faced challenges in attracting a dedicated following due to the presence of other popular sports teams in the region, such as the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning.

However, despite the initial struggles, the Rays have made significant strides in cultivating a loyal fanbase, particularly during their successful years in the late 2000s and 2010s.

The team’s competitive performance, including their World Series appearance in 2008 and multiple playoff berths, helped generate more interest and support from fans in the Tampa Bay area.

The Rays’ fanbase tends to be more concentrated around the Tampa Bay region, including St. Petersburg and the surrounding areas.

The team has made efforts to engage with the local community and attract younger fans through various promotions and outreach programs.

Iconic Moments: Atlanta Braves Vs Tampa Bay Rays Rivalry

June 17, 2018 – Acuña’s Leadoff Homers

In a game between the Braves and Rays in 2018, Braves’ young star Ronald Acuña Jr. became the youngest player in MLB history to hit a leadoff home run in both games of a doubleheader.

He achieved this feat by hitting a leadoff homer in both games of the twin bill against the Rays. Acuña’s impressive display of power and talent highlighted his potential as a future star of the game.

May 9, 2013 – Fernandez’s Dominant Performance

In a game between the Braves and Rays in 2013, young Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who tragically passed away later, showed his brilliance on the mound.

Fernandez threw eight shutout innings, striking out eight batters and allowing only two hits in a dominant performance against the Rays.

This memorable pitching display demonstrated the immense talent of the young pitcher and showcased the excitement of interleague matchups.

June 16, 2019 – Braves’ Walk-off Win

In a 2019 interleague game between the Braves and Rays, the Braves staged a thrilling comeback in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Facing a 6-4 deficit, the Braves rallied with a two-run homer by Austin Riley to tie the game, and then with two outs, they completed the walk-off win with a pinch-hit single by Brian McCann.

The dramatic late-game heroics made this matchup one to remember for both fanbases.

July 26, 2016 – Freeman’s Cycle

In an interleague game between the Braves and Rays in 2016, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman hit for the cycle. Freeman accomplished this rare feat by hitting a single, double, triple, and home run all in the same game.

His outstanding offensive performance led the Braves to victory and provided a memorable moment in the rivalry.

Recent Performance: Atlanta Braves Vs Tampa Bay Rays

Six matchups, the Tampa Bay Rays have won four games, while the Atlanta Braves have won two. The Rays have demonstrated their offensive depth and balanced pitching staff, while the Braves have shown their power-hitting ability but have faced some inconsistencies and injuries in their pitching rotation.

Here is the recent performance list for the Atlanta Braves vs. Tampa Bay Rays matchups

  • May 7, 2023: Braves 6 – Rays 3

  • May 8, 2023: Rays 12 – Braves 8

  • May 9, 2023: Rays 4 – Braves 3

  • July 16, 2023: Rays 7 – Braves 6 (10 innings)

  • July 17, 2023: Rays 9 – Braves 0

  • July 18, 2023: Rays 3 – Braves 2

Table for Atlanta Braves Vs Tampa Bay Rays Rivalry

2021Jun 23Truist ParkAtlanta Braves9 – 0
2021Jun 22Truist ParkTampa Bay Rays7 – 6
2020Sep 30Truist ParkAtlanta Braves9 – 5
2020Sep 29Truist ParkTampa Bay Rays6 – 4
2019Jul 30Tropicana FieldAtlanta Braves5 – 2
2019Jul 29Tropicana FieldTampa Bay Rays6 – 4
2018Jun 17Tropicana FieldTampa Bay Rays8 – 5
2018Jun 16Tropicana FieldTampa Bay Rays1 – 0
2017Sep 27Truist ParkAtlanta Braves7 – 4
2017Sep 26Truist ParkAtlanta Braves9 – 0
2016Jul 26Tropicana FieldAtlanta Braves9 – 5
2016Jul 25Tropicana FieldTampa Bay Rays7 – 5
2013May 9Tropicana FieldTampa Bay Rays5 – 3
2013May 8Tropicana FieldAtlanta Braves5 – 2
2012Jun 17Truist ParkTampa Bay Rays2 – 0
2012Jun 16Truist ParkAtlanta Braves4 – 3
2007Jun 24Tropicana FieldTampa Bay Rays2 – 1
2007Jun 23Tropicana FieldTampa Bay Rays14 – 10
2005Jun 12Truist ParkAtlanta Braves2 – 1
2005Jun 11Truist ParkTampa Bay Rays5 – 1
2000Jun 18Truist ParkTampa Bay Rays5 – 4
2000Jun 17Truist ParkTampa Bay Rays7 – 6


When did the Atlanta Braves vs. Tampa Bay Rays rivalry begin?

The rivalry between the Atlanta Braves and the Tampa Bay Rays began when the Rays joined Major League Baseball as an expansion team in 1998. Since then, the two teams have had interleague matchups, which have contributed to the development of their rivalry.

How often do the Atlanta Braves and Tampa Bay Rays play against each other?

As National League and American League teams, the Atlanta Braves and Tampa Bay Rays face each other only during interleague play, which typically occurs during a few series each season. The number of matchups between the teams may vary each year depending on the MLB schedule.

Do the Atlanta Braves and Tampa Bay Rays have a strong rivalry compared to other MLB teams?

The rivalry between the Braves and Rays may not be as historic or intense as some other well-known MLB rivalries. However, the matchups between the two teams still generate excitement, and there have been memorable moments in their head-to-head encounters.

What are some iconic moments in the Atlanta Braves vs. Tampa Bay Rays rivalry?

Iconic moments in this rivalry include Ronald Acuña Jr.’s leadoff home runs in a doubleheader, Jose Fernandez’s dominant pitching performance, and dramatic walk-off wins by both teams. These moments have added to the excitement and significance of their matchups.

Are there any notable player connections between the Braves and Rays?

While there may not be significant player connections due to being in different leagues, some players have played for both teams at different points in their careers.
Additionally, some former players who were part of the Braves or Rays organizations might have faced their former teams in interleague games. However, as of my last update in September 2021, there were no prominent player connections that stood out.

To Recap

While the Atlanta Braves vs. Tampa Bay Rays rivalry may not be as historic or intense as some other MLB rivalries, it has still produced memorable moments and exciting matchups.

The Braves’ long-standing success and passionate fanbase contrast with the Rays’ younger franchise, striving to build their dedicated supporters. As interleague play continues, both teams have a chance to shape the future of this rivalry.

Whether it’s dramatic walk-off wins, dominant pitching displays, or emerging stars leaving their mark, these encounters add to the colorful tapestry of Major League Baseball, fostering excitement and anticipation among fans of both teams.

Photo of author

Kevin Smith

I am a dedicated learner who is constantly pursuing my dreams in many areas of life. I am a Finance major at the University of Maryland, a professional baseball player for the Toronto Blue Jays and the owner of my personal brand, Elevate Baseball. I hope to inspire younger learners of all sports and interests to tirelessly pursue their dreams, whatever that may be. LinkedIn