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)

Hernandez struggles in Rays loss to Blue Jays

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays can push back Roberto Hernandez's starts when possible and skip him when the schedule allows. But until Matt Moore's left elbow feels better, they seem likely to keep sending Hernandez to the mound.

And that just isn't working out too well.

On Saturday he matched the major-league high with his 13th loss, putting the Rays behind early to kill any momentum from their thrilling walkoff win the night before, leading to a 6-2 defeat to the Blue Jays. The loss dropped them to 69-52 and back to two games behind the American League East-leading Red Sox.

"I can't control the losing," Hernandez said. "I want to win. Everybody knows that. But I can't control that."

You can mention that he hasn't received much run support. That the ground balls he's getting somehow are finding holes. That the occasional mistake has led to significant damage. That he has thrown the ball better than the results reflect.

Manager Joe Maddon did, running through all the above in defense of the weak link in the Rays rotation.

And also this tepid assessment:

"It wasn't awful."

Hernandez gave up a run in the first, on a badly aimed slider that Jose Bautista deposited in the leftfield seats, and two more in a messy third, then another homer to Adam Lind in the sixth, making it the seventh straight game in which the Rays have allowed the other team to score first.

"It's never easy to get down early," outfielder Sam Fuld said. "Getting down 3-0, there's only so many times you can come back. You prefer to get ahead. We always talk about scoring first, we'd like to do a better job of that."

And with Toronto starter J.A. Happ sharp in his return to Tropicana Field, where he was struck in the head by a line drive during his previous outing May 7, there wasn't much they could do about it, despite some dazzling defense from third baseman Evan Longoria and a lively concert-induced Tropicana Field crowd of 25,036.

"That was a big part of our problem tonight, how well he pitched," said Maddon, who also congratulated Happ on his successful return.

Maddon has some valid points in his defense of Hernandez. The Rays have scored only 17 runs when he has been in the game in his 13 losses, and his overall run support (2.22) is the worst of the starters. He did get 12 ground-ball outs Saturday, though Brett Lawrie's single through the infield scored a run.

But Hernandez has a 5.00 ERA, highest of any American Leaguer who has worked at least 130 innings. The Rays are 9-14 in his starts, 60-38 in everyone else's. He has allowed a team-high 22 home runs.

"I know it's easy to harp on him because of his record, but he's a contact pitcher, and we've got to be in the right spots," Maddon said.

Also, "I know it doesn't look good line-wise, but he did not throw the ball that badly."

And, "You look at the won-loss record and it looks awful, but a little bit more run support and I'm certain that record would read better."

The Rays have an off day Thursday, so they might be able to skip Hernandez's next turn. Moore could be back by the end of the month.

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays.

Hernandez struggles in Rays loss to Blue Jays 08/17/13 [Last modified: Saturday, August 17, 2013 11:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Road to Atlanta: Tell us how you really feel, Jimbo


    Topped out

    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 21:  Rashaan Evans #32 of the Alabama Crimson Tide tackles Jarrett Guarantano #2 of the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) 775042495
  2. Journal: USF gets support on the road


    NEW ORLEANS — Perhaps it was the chance to witness the first USF-Tulane game ever, or an opportunity to frolic in the French Quarter for a weekend. Or both.

    USF running back D'Ernest Johnson (2) stiff-arms Tulane cornerback Parry Nickerson (17) on a run during the second half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH111
  3. Joey Knight's takeaways from USF-Tulane


    1. Saturday's triumph will do little to fortify USF's strength of schedule, but its strength-of-character quotient might have increased. On the road facing an eclectic offense, the Bulls built a huge lead, then made critical plays in the waning moments after some defensive lapses. In short, they survived. Isn't …

    South Florida defensive end Greg Reaves (41) reacts after a defensive stop against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH107
  4. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start


    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  5. Lightning journal: Tighter defense fuels hot start

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — See what happens when you keep the crease clean, limit the traffic in front of G Andrei Vasilevskiy and limit Grade A scoring chances?

    Yanni Gourde, right, gets a late first-period goal that follows a big save by Andrei Vasilevskiy.