SAN DIEGO — It’s the type of irritant that would drive anyone mad, or in the case of George Springer, to the point where you can’t help but grab your batting helmet with two hands and slam it on the dirt about as hard as you can.

The Tampa Bay Rays have assembled a group of gloves that effectively have transcended the advanced metric of Defensive Runs Saved — a stat in which they ranked fifth in baseball as a club this year — and thrust it so everyone can see it with the naked eye. They, at least in the national perception, are the perennial little brother — overmatched, under-resourced, anonymous. It was neat when they posted the best mark of any American League club through 60 games. It was cute when they toppled a Yankees squad likened to a titanic force that, funny enough, had a vulnerable weak spot the Rays managed to find.

The fact is, they’ve just been better. Pitched better, too, and when they haven’t, fielded…



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