Thursday, May 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays fall to Marlins for seventh straight loss

MIAMI — Alex Cobb, for one, has had enough.

While Rays manager Joe Maddon and others on down continued talking, even after a seventh straight defeat Monday, about small victories and finding good amid the bad, Cobb said after the 3-1 loss to the Marlins that they needed a different outlook.

"I'm over taking positives away from games," Cobb said. "That obviously isn't getting us anywhere. Maybe we need to dwell on the negatives a little bit more and stop looking at positives."

As concerning as the latest defeat was, which dropped the Rays' American League-worst record to 23-35, Cobb spoke of the residual effect on the clubhouse — and raised the question if there was enough fight among his teammates.

"I think the biggest thing right now is to quit accepting losing," Cobb said. "I can't stand losing and I hope nobody in this locker room will accept this. It's up to us to turn it around. Nobody is going to come here and make some magic formula for us to fix it. We've all got to look at ourselves and figure it out."

Asked if there were specific players whom he felt had started to accept defeat, Cobb said no. But, he said, "when we start doing this I think that kind of comes with it. People show up to the park and sometimes expect to lose. I've seen ballclubs that play like that. And that better not happen around here."

Monday's loss to the Marlins was like so many of the others — a lack of offense making a few bad pitches and a defensive miscue even more glaring and costly.

It was more galling for Cobb because of how it happened. Two walks and a ground ball off Evan Longoria's glove — which could easily have been scored an error rather than a hit — led to three first-inning runs, and though he didn't give up anything else while completing six innings, it was still too much to avoid another loss.

"It's beyond frustrating," Cobb said. "I really don't know what to say to it. There's no words. This has gone on too long. We've got to figure something out. This is not the way we play baseball around here. And we're going to have to figure it out quick."

Maddon spoke earlier — and before the game — about how he continued to have total faith and confidence in the group. He said he was certain that if the players maintained the right attitude and approach, things would improve, with no significant changes planned, emphasizing small steps before big ones.

Ben Zobrist, one of the team leaders, took a similar approach after the game, saying he didn't want to look at the big picture but focus on the small things each player can do right. "Put a lot of small victories together and get a big one," Zobrist said.

The 3-0 hole from Cobb's rough first inning proved to be huge, as they were shut down by what Maddon said was a combo of Marlins starter Randy Wolf and home plate umpire Bill Miller.

"Some of it was Wolf, some of it was kind of an amorphic strike zone also," he said.

Still, he acknowledged they have to do better. They got one run in the fifth, then had men on in the next three innings and couldn't get any more.

"We're a better offensive club than we're seeing," Maddon said. "We've got to be able to fight through that inning. First inning, three points, we should be able to come back."

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

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