CHICAGO — The rain couldn't get to the south side of Chicago quickly enough for the Rays Monday night.
Playing a game that seemed in jeopardy much of the day based on ominous forecasts, the Rays would have been much better off with the expected postponement and inconveniences of a return trip rather than the 7-3 loss to the White Sox they ended up with.
"Retrospectively …" manager Joe Maddon said. "But I don't know if we'd come back two months from now on a day off, that it would have made any difference. Who knows? Play it, move it along, don't cry about it. Just play it. We'll be fine."
For now, it was the Rays' third loss of the long weekend in Chicago, fifth in six games and 15th of 26 overall as they headed to Boston tucked safely into last place in the American League East.
"Going into Boston and New York, obviously we've got to turn it around a little bit. We've got to play better baseball," outfielder Matt Joyce said. "Obviously everybody is trying, everybody is working their butts off trying to win, everybody wants to win. But sometimes that's the way it goes."
That seemed to be the prevailing attitude in the clubhouse, that things aren't as bad as they seem.
Starter Jake Odorizzi felt that way after delivering another disappointing performance, failing to get past five innings for the fourth straight start and twice during his 41/3 innings giving back leads.
"I feel like I was better overall than the last three outings with stuff, so that was the bright spot I'm taking out of it," he said.
His execution of pitches wasn't very good, though, especially with the hybrid splitter-changeup he learned from Alex Cobb and has come to favor too much, leaving several up over the plate that the Sox mashed.
"His stuff wasn't awful, but it was just about the execution of the pitches that wasn't very good," Maddon said.
Odorizzi's outing marked the 10th time in 14 games a Rays starter didn't last more than five innings, and it gave them a 6.56 ERA during that span.
The game started on time but with the expectation that heavy rains might cut it short, though there wasn't any appreciable precipitation until the bottom of the seventh, and nothing too heavy until after the game.
The Rays played it in sort of a hurry-up mode.
That worked well as they came out aggressively, Ben Zobrist doubling on the first pitch, Desmond Jennings dropping a bunt that Sox starter Andre Rienzo misplayed into a run, then Jennings tagging up from second when centerfielder Adam Eaton crashed into the wall then to the ground after corralling Joyce's drive.
But Odorizzi, after a sharp 1-2-3 first, gave up a leadoff single and a home run to Alejandro De Aza in the second. After the Rays took the lead again in the fourth, getting a hit from Wil Myers who was in a 5-for-41 skid, Odorizzi gave it up again, with a leadoff walk, a run-scoring triple then an RBI double.
Maddon summoned Jake McGee to replace Odorizzi in the fifth. But McGee, in an unusual role, had unexpected results, allowing two more runs in the sixth that made a big difference.
"We haven't been playing badly," Maddon said. "There's going to be a point where we win five out of six and even more than that. I don't want the guys to get down on themselves. It's just how it's going right now."