Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays lose to Angels to finish homestand

ST. PETER SBURG — The Rays' first problem in Sunday's 7-5 loss to the Angels was unexpected, with usually steady starter Jake Odorizzi having one of his worst outings of the season.

The second was part of a troubling trend, with the Rays' hitters leaving 12 runners on base and continuing to struggle with the bases loaded.

The result was the Rays' third loss in four games and their first losing series in a month heading into a three-city, 11-day road trip.

"We had opportunities to win this game," manager Joe Maddon said, "and we frustratingly did not."

Odorizzi put them in a bad spot early, quickly ending his streak of allowing three or fewer runs at nine starts.

After seven innings without a walk in his last start, 12 of Odorizzi's first 20 pitches were balls, and he walked two of the Angels' first three batters. The other, Mike Trout, blasted an RBI double to left-centerfield in front of a Tropicana Field crowd of 25,877.

"Started off bad," Odorizzi said, "and it didn't get any better."

He needed 36 pitches to get his first out, on Howie Kendrick's baserunning mistake. By the time Efren Navarro blasted an RBI double in Odorizzi's 46-pitch first inning, he had given up five earned runs — as many as he had allowed in his past three starts combined.

"It was just one of those days where you make some bad pitches and it finds holes," Odorizzi said after his three-inning outing, his shortest as a Ray. "And then you make a good pitch, it finds holes, too."

The Rays (54-57) didn't have the same luck on offense. They stranded multiple runners in the second, fourth and seventh innings and continued a season-long trend of failing to capitalize on bases-loaded opportunities.

"Bases loaded's not a good play for us," Maddon said.

They faced those chances in two different innings, each with one out. In the fourth, Jose Molina's sacrifice fly scored the only run before Kevin Kiermaier popped out.

In the seventh, Cole Figueroa sandwiched a bases-loaded walk between Sean Rodriguez's strikeout and Kiermaier's inning-ending grounder on the first pitch he saw from Joe Smith.

"It's just one of those things where I can't really put a finger on to what's the difference," Kiermaier said. "It's just one thing where I know I need to be a lot better in bigger situations like that."

Kiermaier, and the rest of the Rays, who were 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position and entered Sunday hitting .230 with the bases loaded — third worst in the league.

Maddon could point to those opportunities for both losses to the Angels. The Rays had the bases loaded with no outs in Friday's ninth inning but came away scoreless in a 5-3 defeat.

"We've had plenty of opportunities to win the games we have lost," Maddon said. "We just couldn't get it done."

Contact Matt Baker at [email protected]. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

   
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