Monday, July 16, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Fennelly: Rays' unraveling put on hold with rout of Red Sox (w/video)

ST. PETERSBURG

Win, win, win.

Nobody is changing the lock to Rays manager Kevin Cash's office.

Nothing like 13 runs, 18 hits to calm everyone down.

This Rays season remains at death's door. In fact, death has invited it in for coffee. An 11-game losing streak heading into Monday. An 0-7 road trip. A season filled with shockingly bad starting pitching that has obliterated chances for success.

But then the Rays went out at the Trop and knocked around a gift from heaven named Eduardo Rodriguez, jumping on the paltry Boston Red Sox starter for five runs in the first inning. Hits everywhere in a 13-7 victory. Even the Rays bullpen couldn't blow it.

Two-run single, Logan Morrison. Two-run double, Nick Franklin. A Desmond Jennings homer. A two-run shot by Logan Forsythe. In fact, make it a career-best five-RBI night for recent call-up Franklin. Man, I knew that David Price trade would work out …

A night to exhale.

And that first big-league win for rookie Blake Snell.

Nice stuff.

"It's been a really tough stretch for us, dating back probably to when (Kevin) Kiermaier went down, one of the first tough moments," Rays president of baseball operations Matt Silverman said before Monday's game. "Since then it's been a series of unfortunate events, more losing baseball that we're accustomed to.

"It's something that is very disappointing to us. We're going to fight our way out of this, we're going to keep fighting through it, but so far our performance has not been up to our standards."

A series of unfortunate events.

"Up and down the organization, we're all responsible for what's taking place," Silverman said. "It's the coaches. It's the front office. It's the players on the field. We take pride in the winning product that we've been able to put on the field. We haven't seen that to date. And that's something that we're not used to. We're all looking in the mirror trying to figure out what we can do, how to right the ship. All ideas are on the table right now."

At the moment, Cash's job isn't. He's safe. And should be.

But it's not the height of insanity to think his job — and a lot of others — will and should be on the line if the losing resumes in a large way.

Yes, it goes against the Ray Way. Methodical. Patient. No panic. Cash is a wonderful guy and he's just a year and half into the job. And four of his best hitters are injured. And the Rays starting pitchers decided to turn to garbage all at once. And this organization doesn't have enough depth. And …

"There's no amount of moves that a manager can make to force a team to win," Evan Longoria said. "… It's the players' fault. The players have to go out and do their jobs."

But managers get fired all the time in baseball even when it's not completely their fault — even when it's not their fault at all.

There's no ax in Silverman's closet. Not even close.

"If you look at the organization and our history, there's consistency," Silverman said. "There's been consistency within our front office, within our coaching staff. We enjoy that continuity. We think it's one of the things that separates us from other organizations. We're in this together."

Cash smiled before the game when asked about the tough stretch.

"I'm good at handling rough times," he said. "I hit .180 for an entire career. I'm accustomed to having some bad times."

But how do we know what things will look like for him if there are more dismal streaks this summer?

If this season collapses, everything should be in play.

If it falls apart, no one should be safe.

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