BALTIMORE – Sunday was brutal enough.
A 17-1 loss to Orioles that was one of the most lopsided in Rays franchise history, a product of poor performances all over the field.
They didn't hit much, made misplays in the field, and had such bad pitching, beginning with starter Blake Snell, that their most effective moundsman was outfielder Johnny Field.
"Ugly,'' Snell said.
And it might not look much better anytime soon.
Having lost three of four at the front end of a vexing stretch of 40 games in 41 days and taxing — and then shuffling — their bullpen for a second straight day, the Rays are going to be further challenged.
They head to Kansas City, where they tend to play poorly, and will start rookie Ryan Yarbrough Monday and cobble together another Bullpen Day on Tuesday, likely having to make more callups to cover.
"We've got our work cut out,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "We're going to have to make some decisions. (Pitching coach) Kyle (Snyder) and I have to do a good job during the game of making sure we are being cautious and smart with those guys. The last thing for this stretch we're getting into, we don't want to do something to put somebody in harm's way this early into this consecutive-games stretch.''
The Rays dispatched Ryne Stanek after Saturday's doubleheader to call up Austin Pruitt, who worked 3⅓ innings Sunday. Then after Andrew Kittredge's historically bad outing Sunday — the seven batters he faced all reached base, with six scoring — they sent him down. His replacement, potentially Hunter Wood, should come today, as they need coverage behind Yarbrough, who hasn't pitched more than five innings. And they will need more help Tuesday, with the possibility of calling back Anthony Banda, who was with them Saturday as the 26th man but didn't pitch.
Sunday's game was bad from all aspects, including the end of a couple of impressive streaks.
Wilson Ramos went 0-for-4 to end his hitting streak at 18 games, one shy of Jason Bartlett's 2009 team record.
And Snell, pitching with previously undisclosed right hip issues, saw his streaks of yielding two or fewer runs end at six starts and five or fewer hits at a team-record 12.
"Just an all-around bad game, every side of the ball,'' third baseman Matt Duffy said. "Obviously we didn't hit a guy who's gotten hit hard all year (Dylan Bundy), we didn't pitch and our defense didn't help out the pitching with moderate difficulty plays we didn't make.
"Not a whole lot of positives. But the thing that's awesome about that is we played really crappy in all the facets of baseball and we only count it as one loss. I guess you could that as a positive if you're looking for one, which is something you have to do on a day like this. It's so bad. We're not 16 runs worse than the Baltimore Orioles. A loss like this is almost easier to shake than a walkoff or a one-run loss, because we know we're not that bad.''
He's right, but if this was the only Rays game you ever saw, you would probably disagree.
Snell, who had been their best starter, was not sharp or comfortable from the beginning, allowing three homers in a five-batter span and pulled one out into the fourth, in part to rest the hip. Plus, he was hit by a liner on the left hip during the game. And he was having trouble all afternoon with the mound, unable to get comfortable on the first-base side, from where he has been having success.
"Just fighting myself getting comfortable on the mound,'' Snell said. "Couldn't find it. Really my grip with my left cleat, so that was frustrating. That's why I went to the stretch for an at-bat. … There was such a big hole on the left side where I normally am that I have should have known to go more to the middle and not dig deeper.
"I don't know. I really don't know. I've got to look back and think. From what I do know, they beat me today. I wasn't in the zone as much as I would have liked to have been. I've got to clean it up.''
Kittredge was even worse, Pruitt not much better. Chaz Roe tried, too, but Field was the only Rays pitcher to post a zero.
The offense was held to two hits over seven innings by Bundy, who in his previous start faced seven batters without an out, and four homers, and five overall. (Though the run in the eighth saved the Rays from eclipsing their worst shutout loss in franchise history, 14-0 to the Blue Jays on July 1, 2004.)
And the defense was sloppy. Duffy making an error that cost a run, and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, second baseman Joey Wendle and centerfielder Mallex Smith all lending a hand.
"Kind of a bad day,'' Cash said. "Let's go watch the Lightning win.''.
Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.
Running up the score
The most lopsided losses in Rays history:
Score Opponent Date
22-4 Red Sox 7/23/2002
21-4 Yankees 7/22/2007
17-1 Orioles 5/13/2018
18-2 Pirates 6/11/2005
18-2 Tigers 5/18/2001
17-1 Orioles 8/10/1999