Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Horrid seventh inning costs Rays against Blue Jays

TORONTO — Much went into Monday's 7-5 loss to the Blue Jays, but it basically came down to what the Rays did wrong — and failed to do right — in the seventh inning that left them with what is now an AL-worst 45-66 record.

In the top, with the score 4-4, they got their first two on as 2B Logan Forsythe drew a walk and CF Kevin Kiermaier doubled. But 3B Evan Longoria struck out, Forsythe declined to tag (and apparently was not told to by 3B coach Charlie Montoyo) on a Brad Miller fly to no-longer strong-armed RF Jose Bautista, and RF Mikie Mahtook flied out.

"We've talked about that probably too many times this year where we've got to find a way to get the run in, and we just did not," manager Kevin Cash said, calling it "a tough play, a tough read overall" for Forsythe.

In the bottom half, Rays relievers Xavier Cedeno walked two and rookie Dylan Floro another to load the bases. After striking out ex-Ray B.J. now Melvin Upton, Floro got a comebacker that could have been an inning-ending double play. But first he bobbled the ball, and when he did throw home, C Bobby Wilson got taken out by sliding Michael Saunders — with no violation of the slide rule, since he went straight in — and couldn't make the throw.

"We were an executed play from getting out of that inning," Cash said.

The Jays took full advantage of the extended opportunity, scoring three.

RHP Jake Odorizzi got off to a rough start, with the 202/3-inning scoreless streak he brought in getting no longer as Devon Travis led off by lining a ball past a diving Mahtook for a triple then scoring on a sac fly.

FAMILIAR FACE: Upton played 966 games for the Rays over parts of eight seasons before leaving as a free agent after 2012, but Monday was the first time he got to play against them.

"Obviously, it's been a while," said Upton, who went 1-for-4.

Upton spent two rough seasons with the Braves after signing a five-year, $75 million deal, then 1½ with the Padres, who sent him to the Jays on July 26.

NO A-ROD: If Alex Rodriguez wants to keep playing after his Yankees farewell Friday, it won't be with the Rays, who have no interest in signing him.

COBB CLOSER: RHP Alex Cobb has moved up to Triple-A Durham for the final stage of his rehab from May 2015 Tommy John elbow surgery. Cobb will start Wednesday for the Bulls then potentially two more times before being rejoining the Rays in late August.

And when he is ready, Cash said the Rays will adjust their rotation to make room for him to get the work he needs.

"Alex Cobb obviously is a huge priority, to get him back in," Cash said. "We want to get as many innings as possible, get him feeling as good as he possibly can going into the offseason, allowing him to have a normal offseason. It seemed to really benefit Matt Moore. And then get him into spring training where it's just a normal spring for him."

One way the Rays could do that is limit innings for rookie LHP Blake Snell, though Cash said that his total of 118 (55 in the majors) is not yet a concern. Another could be to have starters work in tandem, sharing games.

Though with "different parameters," Cash said they will make similar accommodations for RHP Chase Whitley, who will make the fifth start of his rehab from Tommy John surgery Thursday for Double-A Montgomery.

REHAB REPORT: Newly acquired SS Matt Duffy (left Achilles strain) went 0-for-4 in his first rehab game at Triple A on Sunday and third overall, but did finally get a couple of ground balls hit his way. He is planning to play for the Bulls tonight and Wednesday then join the Rays Friday in New York.

MISCELLANY: There has been no resolution yet in the Rays' talks with the Giants about additional compensation for injured prospect Lucius Fox, who was part of the Moore trade return. … The Rays on Monday launched a public informational website on a quest for a new stadium, ballparkreimagined.com. (See story, 1B.)

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