Thursday, April 26, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays hot streak ends with Pirates rout

ST. PETERSBURG — Monday started with a novelty, Durant High's Chelsea Baker throwing her knuckleball to a few Rays hitters during batting practice.

But after that, pretty much more of what has become the same old bit, starting with another loss, this time 8-1 to the Pirates.

The offense was again impotent, posting just six singles while grounding into three more double plays. There were some defensive lapses. A couple mistakes on the mound, starting with starter Alex Cobb. Even another injury, with word that Jerry Sands is out at least three weeks, maybe the season.

"Tough night," catcher Ryan Hanigan said. "Nothing really went right for us offensively or defensively."

It got so bad, infielder Logan Forsythe was warming up to pitch during the ninth before Kirby Yates — finally — got the third out.

Having taken three of four from the Astros and seven of 11 overall, the Rays had a chance to shed the label of the majors' worst record, but the loss left them the proud owners at 31-47.

"We did not play our best game tonight," manager Joe Maddon said. "We've been playing better."

The lack of support has been commonplace when Cobb is on the mound, as the Rays have scored only 12 runs during his 591/3 innings over 10 starts, a puny 1.82 runs per nine innings that would be by far the majors' lowest if he had enough innings to qualify for the leaderboard.

The twist Monday was that Cobb had some issues as well, allowing six runs and lasting only five innings.

The big problem was a three-run homer he allowed to Pedro Alvarez, after a two-out four-pitch walk in the third, that turned a 3-0 hole into a 6-0 canyon.

"I can trace the 'bad outing' back to that pitch," Cobb said. "It's tough to sneak a fastball down the middle."

But there was more in play, as Cobb did not seem sharp.

"He was fighting himself, maybe overthinking it a little bit because overall, command was not there with his fastball, the velocity was down a click," Maddon said. "He was just off."

The Pirates' speed and aggressiveness was an issue, as they stole a season-high four bases, three of which led to runs. Also, their placement of ground balls, or the Rays infielders' inability to make the plays, though Maddon said he had no issues with their effort, including shortstop Yunel Escobar.

"It's tough," Cobb said. "You think you made quality pitches and then ground balls find holes. And you get guys on first and then you're worrying about the guys on first, and they're stealing bases at will, really. So maybe you're a little bit frustrated at that. And you pay for it on a poorly located ball."

The Pirates, playing at the Trop for the first time since 2003, got two in a messy first in which Cobb hit one of them and they hit a ball off his leg for an RBI single.

They got four in the third, starting with hits by Starling Marte and Fort Meade product Andrew McCutchen, the 2013 NL MVP, and ending with the big blast by Alvarez.

Hitting Baker's dancing knuckleball turned out not to be the Rays' biggest challenge as they were shut down by Edinson Volquez, the 21st time they've been held to one run or fewer.

With rookie Yates struggling to finish the ninth, Forsythe went to the bullpen but turned out not be needed. Things haven't gotten to that point yet.

Comments
Donít call it a comeback: Jonny Venters return to majors with Rays much more than that

Donít call it a comeback: Jonny Venters return to majors with Rays much more than that

BALTIMORE — First, think of what you were doing on Oct. 5, 2012, and how much has happened in your own world since then.That will give you a time frame.Next, think of the challenge of rehabbing from two Tommy John surgeries and a third procedur...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Rays Journal: A win over ex-mate Cobb, and in a record way

BALTIMORE – The Rays knew there would be all kinds of mixed feeling seeing longtime former teammate Alex Cobb pitching against them in Orioles orange.And they made sure he didn't enjoy it.The Rays knocked Cobb out in the fifth inning, and rolle...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays bring Jonny Venters back to majors

Rays bring Jonny Venters back to majors

UPDATE, 5:34: Venters, understandably, was humbled and happy to make it back. "It's hard to put into words how I'm feeling," he said. "It's been an emotional day."Venters was in uniform in the Durham clubhouse during rain delay when he got called in ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Orioles, weather permitting (again)

For starters: Rays at Orioles, weather permitting (again)

The Rays and Orioles are going to try again to play tonight, though the tarp was on the field this afternoon and a light rain falling with heavier precipitation expected later.The Rays, who called up veteran reliever Jonny Venters this afternoon, are...
Published: 04/25/18
Rays up next: at Orioles, 7:05 Wednesday

Rays up next: at Orioles, 7:05 Wednesday

Wednesday: at Orioles7:05, Camden Yards, BaltimoreTV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)Probable pitchersRays:  RH Jake Faria (1-1, 5.82)Orioles: RH Alex Cobb (0-2, 15.43)On Faria: Coming off quality start vs. Rangers, allowing Shin-...
Published: 04/25/18
Carlos Gomez says he was guilty of only one thing in Sundayís epic walkoff homer celebration

Carlos Gomez says he was guilty of only one thing in Sundayís epic walkoff homer celebration

BALTIMORE – Carlos Gomez is perfectly willing to explain the specific elements that went into his epic celebration tour around the bases following Sunday's walkoff home run.The bat flip and raised arms were his initial reaction to how well he h...
Published: 04/24/18
Updated: 04/25/18
Rays Journal: On the early rainout, pitching plans, medical matters, more

Rays Journal: On the early rainout, pitching plans, medical matters, more

BALTIMORE – If the Rays were going to get rained out Tuesday, they were happy  the Orioles made the decision at a good hour, around 5 p.m."I think they probably did the right thing in the fact that they knew there's a bunch of rain coming,...
Published: 04/24/18
Rays-Orioles postponed, doubleheader planned for May 12

Rays-Orioles postponed, doubleheader planned for May 12

UPDATE, 6:06: The Rays will stay in rotation, so Faria will slide back a day and pitch Wednesday, vs. Cobb, and Archer will get an extra day's rest and pitch Thursday, against RHP Dylan Bundy.Also of note, Cash said 3B Matt Duffy (right hamstring str...
Published: 04/24/18
For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing Cobb, weather permitting

For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing Cobb, weather permitting

The Rays are set to get their first look at an old friend tonight, as Alex Cobb will be on the mound for the Orioles, weather permitting.Heavy rain is forecast for the Baltimore area, though Orioles officials seem confident there will be a window for...
Published: 04/24/18
Rays up next: at Orioles, 7:10 Tuesday

Rays up next: at Orioles, 7:10 Tuesday

Tuesday:  at Orioles7:05, Camden Yards, BaltimoreTV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish) Probable pitchersRays:  RH Jake Faria (1-1, 5.82)Orioles: RH Alex Cobb (0-2, 15.43)On Faria: Coming off quality start vs. Rangers, allowing ...
Published: 04/24/18