ST. PETERSBURG — Watching the Rays play, with one thing or another going wrong seemingly every day, it has been fairly easy to see how their losing streak, after Thursday's 11-6 defeat, has now reached 10 and they have the worst record in the major leagues.
But living it, apparently, is something else.
"It's unbelievable," outfielder Matt Joyce said. "It's almost to the point that it's ridiculous. We're not a bad team; we're really not. We have some great players who have some tremendous talent. It just seems like we have not been on the same page."
Thursday's debacle against the Marlins served as the latest example.
They got a decent start from Jake Odorizzi. Churned out more offense than they'd had in a week. Played a clean game in the field. And … lost it when their bullpen, specifically their two hottest relievers in Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger, failed them.
"We just can't balance it all out," manager Joe Maddon said.
The 10-game streak matches the fourth worst in franchise history, second longest since shedding their Devil Rays past to a 2009 11-gamer. The 23-38 record, and accompanying features, such as games under .500 and games back, also take them back to their dark (green) days.
"It's frustrating, it's shocking, there's a long list of words that can describe it," Joyce said. "At the end of the day, we're stuck in the middle of it, and we're the only ones that can pull ourselves out."
After taking and losing a 1-0 lead, the Rays fell behind 3-1 as Odorizzi gave up five straight two-out singles (two ground balls through the infield and a chopper among them), but then came back to tie on fifth-inning homers by rookie Kevin Kiermaier and Ben Zobrist.
After Odorizzi allowed a double to open the sixth, Maddon went to the bullpen, and in a somewhat unusual — or perhaps more urgent — way, summoning McGee at what Maddon obviously felt was a critical juncture.
And McGee, who had retired 21 consecutive batters and hadn't allowed a run since April (with 15 appearances since), allowed three singles and an RBI groundout, promptly ending both of his streaks and leaving the Rays behind 6-3.
"Jake just had one of those unusually tough days," Maddon said
The Rays closed the gap to 6-5 on a single by Desmond Jennings, a triple by Joyce and a one-out RBI pinch-hit single by Jerry Sands, snapping their 0-for-34 hitless streak with runners in scoring position that dated to last Friday in Boston.
Maddon then turned to Boxberger, who hadn't allowed a run in his past nine appearances. He then let them down, allowing a leadoff single to Donovan Solano and a loud laser-like homer to Giancarlo Stanton, his NL-leading 17th. Peralta was next, and he gave up another run to make it 9-6.
"It's just hard — we've just got to keep trying to piece it together," Maddon said. "Always talk about that formulaic kind of game — it's been a while since we had it."
Maddon remains resolute that they can and will turn it around.
"I still believe there's a really good finish to the season for us," he said. "I still believe the playoffs are a possibility. I'm not just saying that, I believe that."
But, he also admitted, what's gone on is hard to believe.
"It's very difficult," he said. "There's teams you could bed on that you could almost understand it, that it could happen. … This team is too good for that. There is too much talent out there to go through this particular moment."