Saturday, November 18, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays give up grand slam in 10th, fall to Red Sox

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — A ground ball.

That's what manager Joe Maddon was thinking when he brought in Roberto Hernandez to replace ineffective Joel Peralta with two Red Sox on and one out in the 10th inning of what, for just another few moments, was a tie game.

A ground ball.

Instead he got four balls, as Hernandez, the much-maligned starter whom the Rays were now, in the season's 144th game, counting on as a reliever in a high-leverage situation, walked Mike Napoli to load the bases.

But that wasn't the worst part, as Hernandez's next pitch was rocketed over the centerfield fence by Mike Carp for a pinch-hit grand slam, continuing the Rays' misery with a 7-3 loss Wednesday.

"It doesn't get any worse than this. It feels like a punch in the gut," Rays starter Alex Cobb said. "We're at the low point of this season right now. It can only go up from here."

Maddon explained his reasoning, repeatedly.

Peralta, as has been the case recently, was not sharp. He walked leadoff man Dustin Pedroia, and his velocity was down to 87 mph. An exchange of strategy left Sox on first and second after a bunt and an intentional walk of David Ortiz.

With Napoli due up, Maddon called for Hernandez, saying their data showed a 60 percent chance Napoli would hit a ground ball, presumably into an inning-ending double play. But he walked, then Maddon stuck with Hernandez against lefty-hitting Carp, with lefty Cesar Ramos ready.

"It's all about the process, trying to do the right thing," Maddon said. "People can dispute whatever they want. The situation right there for me, the right guy is the guy that is going to put the ball on the ground. If your guy (Peralta) is on the top of his game right there, you just play it through. … I just thought Roberto was right for that moment."

Peralta didn't dispute that he wasn't, taken out after only 11 pitches.

"I'm not going to complain anything about the decision that they make," he said. "It wasn't my best day, so I'm okay with it."

Hernandez wouldn't say anything, telling reporters: "I'll talk tomorrow."

Somehow, despite losing for the 13th time in 17 games, the Rays (78-66) still hold the AL's second wild-card spot. But the margin has been sliced and the field crowded as the Rays are just one game ahead of the Yankees, 1½ ahead of the Indians and Orioles, and two ahead of the Royals.

Tampa Bay remained 2½ behind the wild-card-leading Rangers and 9½ behind the East-leading Red Sox with 18 to play.

Maddon, naturally, remains optimistic, noting that amid all the "doom and gloom" talk they still hold a playoff spot.

"I don't want our guys to go out there and worry about sharp objects," he said. "Just go out there and just continue to play and get ourselves right."

Earlier in the night, before a gathering of 19,215 that included a lot of red-clad fans, there were teases that the Rays had that moment they had been seeking that would break them out.

In sixth inning, they had the opportunity for a triple play, which surely would have been inspiring, but the Rays came up just short on the final relay. "It reeked of it," Maddon said.

And in the eighth, James Loney hit a one-out tying homer.

They were done in as much by what they did in the 10th as earlier, failing twice more with the bases loaded, now 0-for-their-past-12 and 2-for-22. They committed the now-seemingly daily defensive miscue as rightfielder Wil Myers let a line drive bounce in front and then by him, to score two. And the Rays went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, hitting .173 over the 17-game skid.

"You look at a game like this and it's easy to second-guess whatever," Maddon said, "but the truth of the matter is we have to do a better job of scoring runs when we have opportunities.''

 
Comments
Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

The Rays completed the reorganization of their coaching staff by giving Rocco Baldelli the title of major league field coordinator.In being promoted from first-base coach, Baldelli will implement ideas and information from the staff, while assisting ...
Published: 11/17/17
Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays were banking on pitcher Alex Cobb declining their one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer based on the lure of a longer-term and more lucrative deal elsewhere as a free agent.With that decision official Thursday, now the ...
Published: 11/16/17
Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

LAKE BUENA VISTA — MLB commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t want to talk Thursday about what might happen if the current effort to build the Rays a new stadium at the Ybor City site falls through."I’m more focused on working with the community to figure o...
Published: 11/16/17
A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

Here is a message from RHP Alex Cobb after he officially left the Rays Thursday in declining their one-year, $17.4-milllion qualifying offer to seek a bigger and longer pact elsewhere:"Getting to this point in my career is truly bittersweet."Twelve y...
Published: 11/16/17
UPDATE: Rays to gain draft pick for loss of free agent pitcher Alex Cobb

UPDATE: Rays to gain draft pick for loss of free agent pitcher Alex Cobb

UPDATE, 5:01: Cobb did not accept the offer by the deadline, as expected.DEVELOPING: Sometime before today's 5 p.m. deadline, the Rays will get official word that their $17.4-million slight gamble on Alex Cobb paid off.The Rays made the free-agent ri...
Published: 11/16/17
As he prepares to leave the Rays, how will you remember Alex Cobb?

As he prepares to leave the Rays, how will you remember Alex Cobb?

Presuming Alex Cobb declines the Rays’ one-year, $17.4-million qualifying offer by 5 p.m. today, he has pitched his last game for Tampa Bay.Cobb has received preliminary interest from "lots of teams" already, agent Dan Horwits said. The Cubs and Twin...
Published: 11/16/17
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says progress must continue on new stadium to keep Rays

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says progress must continue on new stadium to keep Rays

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred made clear Thursday that identification of a site for a new Rays stadium is merely the first step for area leaders to show they want to keep the team long-term and that there needs to "consistent forward movement" on the ...
Published: 11/16/17
Sternberg: Tampa Bay Rays' share of new ballpark could be $150 million

Sternberg: Tampa Bay Rays' share of new ballpark could be $150 million

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said Wednesday that the team is "genuinely excited" about the proposed Ybor City site for a new stadium and more than "cautiously optimistic" the project can be completed. But ...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17

Rays journal: No big deals at GM meetings, but possible groundwork laid

By MARC TOPKINLAKE BUENA VISTA — Rays officials left the GM meetings without making any big deals — such as trading Alex Colome or Chris Archer to the Cardinals — but more knowledgeable about the possibilities. "Expectations were to utilize these few...
Published: 11/15/17
Watch: Brandy Halladay’s emotional tribute to her late husband, Roy

Watch: Brandy Halladay’s emotional tribute to her late husband, Roy

For his wife, Brandy, Roy Halladay was so much more than a standout pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies.During a a celebration of life ceremony Tuesday at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Brandy remembered Halladay — who died Nov...
Published: 11/15/17