Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Chicago White Sox 5, Tampa Bay Rays 1

CHICAGO — Manager Joe Maddon isn't going to scream or rant or start throwing things around the Rays clubhouse, because that's not his way. "If I thought it would matter or make a difference, I would," Maddon said, "but if that's all it ever took, it would be way too easy."

And there isn't much maneuvering he can do with the lineup. Not when there's B.J. Upton and Sam Fuld hitting, and 11 other guys, well, politely, not for a combined .145 team average that is, by far, the worst in the majors.

So as their season-starting losing streak extended to six games with Thursday's 5-1 loss to the White Sox, all the Rays figure they can do is go back out again today and keep trying — harder, easier, differently, you pick — and keep talking about keeping things together before they fall apart.

Left-hander David Price discussed how "terrible" their 0-6 start was and how "miserable" they felt about it.

Centerfielder Upton admitted they were getting a "little frustrated" and, in essence, "it can't get much worse than it is right now."

Even Maddon, who is perpetually positive, acknowledged how "abnormally weird" and "absurd" to imagine them hitting so poorly.

But it was the words spoken by Johnny Damon as he led a brief players-only postgame meeting that they hope meant the most.

"We just talked amongst ourselves to make sure we stay together," Damon said. "This is not what we envisioned where we were going to be at this point. We can either sulk about it or embrace it and say, 'We have to get better.'

"We have to forget about all this that happened — 0-6, it stinks, we hate to be in this position, but it's not the end of the world. We know we have to go out and start winning games. And we feel like once we do and once we get that and try not to put so much pressure on ourselves, we can start to roll. And we keep saying hopefully sooner than later.

"We're in this together. There's not going to be any separation of why aren't the hitters hitting. No, we're together in this. We're 0-6 together. And now it's time for us to win some games together."

Of course, tonight won't be soon enough, as they became just the 46th team since 1900 to start a season 0-6 (following the Red Sox, who became the 45th earlier Thursday) and have looked so bad in doing so.

Their eight runs total through the six games are the fifth fewest by a team in more than 60 years. They're the first team since the 1992 Tigers not to hold a lead in one inning this far into a season. They've had one inning when they scored more than one run (a two-run homer by Upton) and four innings when they've gotten more than one hit (including the eighth and ninth Thursday).

Oh, and that .145 team average? It's percentage points less than what National League pitchers are hitting.

"You could go into some slumps or dives or whatever and not hit the ball well," Maddon said, "but one run all the time is kind of hard to cope with."

Making it tougher Thursday was the weather, a jolting 39 degrees on a damp and dreary Chicago afternoon. And making that even tougher was batting against former teammate Edwin Jackson, who was sharper Thursday (13 strikeouts, four hits over eight innings) than when they last faced him, which happened to be a June 2010 no-hitter.

"For sure," Upton said.

The Rays have been shocked, of course, at how bad their offense has been. Even more, stunned as to how it has happened, with so many hitters so cold and none seemingly getting any breaks, such as Damon's eighth-inning drive to right — which even Jackson thought was a tying two-run homer — dying at the warning track.

"That's how it's been going for us," Damon said. "I don't think we've got a bloop hit or a broken-bat hit. There's been nothing like that. … You just never see that."

The only solace, and granted it isn't much, for the Rays is they are not the only AL East contender at 0-6.

"We're definitely neck and neck with the Red Sox right now," Maddon said.

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]

White Sox 5

Rays 1

Chicago White Sox 5, Tampa Bay Rays 1 04/07/11 [Last modified: Friday, April 8, 2011 7:35am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning: Jon Cooper takes unusual tact to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and ... whom else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  2. A buzz-worthy look at the Astros-Dodgers World Series matchup

    The Heater

    Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel is congratulated by Jose Altuve after scoring during the fifth inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) TXMG170
  3. Florida, FSU try to ignore death threats, angry fans


    GAINESVILLE — Frustration over uncharacteristically down seasons at Florida and Florida State has started to spill over from message boards and start crossing real-world lines.

    Fans watch the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. At the half, Florida was up 10 to 3.
  4. Fennelly: Would you take Jameis Winston over Cam Newton?


    Factoring out futures, it wouldn't be a short list if I picked NFL quarterbacks I'd take right now over Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston (3) calls a play during the first half of Sunday's game. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: What went wrong on defense?


    Greg Auman is back from Buffalo, going back over a difficult finish and tough loss for the Bucs, in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Buffalo Bills tight end Logan Thomas (82) makes a touchdown catch over Bucs defensive back T.J. Ward (43) during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]