ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays have lost 19 of their past 22 games after Thursday's 5-1 loss to the Angels, representing the worst 22-game stretch in team history and the worst in the majors this season.
Tampa Bay is 17 games below .500 and will not have a winning homestand before the All-Star break for the first time in team history.
"Obviously, there hasn't been too many positives," C Hank Conger said, "but I think guys across the board have been coming in mentally prepared and not really shutting anything down. Right now we're just not executing. But as far as the team, we are coming in here prepared, and we are going to keep battling and grinding."
The Rays end the first half with a three-game series at Boston that begins tonight.
"We got three big games up there before the break," manager Kevin Cash said. "We play really competitive games against the Red Sox. It should be a good challenge for us to get going headed into the break."
Snell impresses: The bright spot Thursday was the outing by rookie Blake Snell, who attacked the Angels lineup and turned in his best start at the big-league level.
The left-hander threw first-pitch strikes to the first 12 batters he faced and 17 of the 24 he faced in the game. He finished with a career-high seven strikeouts and allowed only two runs in his six innings.
"I'm happy," Snell said. "I finally felt I had a game that I was in command of what I was throwing."
Despite allowing two or fewer earned runs in four of his six major-league starts, Snell is 1-4, joining Dan Wheeler (1999) and Dewon Brazelton (2002-03) as the only Rays pitchers to suffer four losses in their first six starts.
Cobb heads to Daytona: RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John) left after the game for Daytona, where he will join Class A Charlotte for its four-game series that begins tonight. Cobb is scheduled to make his second rehab start there Monday.
With the Rays in Boston this weekend, this will allow Cobb an opportunity to run and throw his bullpen session in the Florida heat.
The heat was an issue Wednesday when Cobb pitched two-thirds of an inning for the Stone Crabs in Port Charlotte during his first outing since suffering his injury in March 2015.
"It was good to feel the adrenalin, game-speed, all things that are difficult to handle your first time out," he said. "But when you leave and your elbow feels like a normal, postgame soreness, you have no choice but to be happy with that."
Injury updates: OF Desmond Jennings (hamstring) began running and throwing Thursday. DH Steve Pearce (hamstring) hit in the cage and is scheduled to take batting practice on the field today. CF Kevin Kiermaier (left hand fracture) traveled with the team to Boston to participate in batting practice and is expected to start his minor-league rehab assignment Monday with Class A Charlotte.
Noteworthy: RHP Dylan Floro made his major-league debut in the eighth inning Thursday. … RHP prospect Brent Honeywell was promoted to Double A Montgomery. … RHP Alex Colome received his AL All-Star jersey before the game. … C Curt Casali, who left Wednesday night's game after getting hit on the head with a backswing, did not enter the concussion protocol.