Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays lose 5-2 to Mariners as Geltz gives up costly homer

SEATTLE — With closer Alex Colome unavailable due to heavy weekend use, Rays manager Kevin Cash knew he would have to deploy his bullpen differently on Monday, saying it would be "a good opportunity for some guys that we haven't seen to step up a little bit.''

And when starter Matt Moore, in another ineffective outing, couldn't get through the fifth against the Mariners, Cash had to get even more creative.

Which is how Dana Eveland ended up on the mound in the sixth inning of a tie game, and after he walked the first two batters, Steve Geltz replaced him and gave up three-run homer to Ketel Marte that was the difference in the 5-2 defeat.

"It's very frustrating,'' Geltz said. "It's heart-breaking to go out and do that today, especially with a tough battle.''

The loss ended the Rays' four-game winning streak and dropped them back to .500 at 15-15.

Of perhaps greater concern, it also exposed the backside of the bullpen, when Colome or Erasmo Ramirez or Xavier Cedeno aren't in the game.

"We've got to be able to get through that,'' Cash said. "Even tough it was a tie ball game, we had it set up pretty good to align it through and keep it tied. We just didn't.''

Eveland deserved some of the blame as he got the last out of the fifth with the bases loaded, but then, facing two lefties to start the sixth, walked No. 9 hitter Leonys Martin and leadoff man Nori Aoki. He said part of the problem is not being sharp when he comes out for a second inning of work.

"I know I'm better than that,'' he said. "I know I can do it. I've been in this game long enough, it's not like I get out there and I'm scared or I'm nervous or something like that. I just need to freaking figure it out.''

Geltz deserved the rest, leaving a first-pitch fastball up that Marte launched to over the right-centerfield fence. Geltz said he didn't know if Marte would be bunting (as Cash also thought) or swinging away, and he didn't know much about the 22-year-old who came up last year and displaced Brad Miller as the starting shortstop.

"I tried to stick to my game plan, up in the zone, aggressive, get a pop out or a fouled off bunt or something'' Geltz said. "And he hit it good.''

It was a bad night overall for the Rays, headlined by the third-inning departure of leading hitter Logan Forsythe, who sustained a bruised left shoulder after being struck by a Felix Hernandez pitch in the third.

Also, Moore threw two wild pitches, one of which led to a run, although catcher Hank Conger seemed complicit; Brandon Guyer was caught getting back late to second base and picked off second base; Evan Longoria made a great stop but an errant throw on a Robinson Cano hot shot that led to a run.

The Rays' history against Hernandez, especially in Seattle, was not good, including an August 2012 perfect game. So it didn't bode well when the Rays went hitless through the first three innings and was somewhat of a success that the two runs, on homers by Corey Dickerson and Longoria.

Still, Hernandez has now started against the Rays 11 times at Safeco Field and is 7-0 with a 1.67 ERA. And he became the Mariners all-time wins leader with his 146th.

Moore had another rough start for the Rays, allowing seven hits and four walks while lasting only 4 2/3 innings, though limiting the damage to two runs, including an impressive first-inning escape with runners on second and third and Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz up. He wasn't helped as two wild pitches eluded catcher Hank Conger.

"Not a good job tonight,'' Moore said, especially down about the two walks in the fifth that led to his departure after 98 pitches.

Since posting 1-0, 2.95 mark in first three starts, Moore is winless in his last four with a 6.35 ERA, allowing 26 hits and 11 walks in 22 2/3 innings.

"I go back to controlling the count,'' Cash said. "Matty, when he is pounding the strike zone and attacking the zone he is a different pitcher then when he has to pitch from behind. You can say that about all the pitchers, but it seems like it shows up more that way with Matt.''

Moore had a similar take: "Probably just falling behind and not taking back the at-bat. I've got to be better than that and go in the zone and make 'em earn it.''

Dickerson made sure the Rays weren't going to be blanked when he led off the fourth with an opposite-field homer, matching Steven Souza Jr. for the team lead with seven, and tying the score 1-1.

The Rays took the lead in the next inning with another homer, this time a two-out shot by Longoria, his sixth. Homers have been a large part of the Rays offense this season, as they came into the game with nearly 55 percent of their total runs (56 of 102) coming via home runs, second highest in the majors behind the Mets.

The Mariners played some small ball to get their first two runs. Marte doubled to lead off the third, went to third on an infield out and scored on Nelson Cruz's sac fly. Marte reached on infield single to start the fifth, went to third when Longoria made a tremendous diving stop of a Robinson Cano hot shot but an errant throw, and scored when Moore bounced a pitch that Conger couldn't handle.

Forsythe was batting in the third inning when he was hit, near the "F" on his nameplate, though he stayed in and moved up to second on a wild pitch. He headed onto the field to take his position for the bottom of the inning but felt enough discomfort that he left the game. X-rays were negative but he was sore and said he will be day to day.

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected] Follow @ TBTimes_Rays

Comments
Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at th...
Updated: 1 hour ago
A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

With the start of spring training now less than a month away, here is what the Rays roster looks like, with the most glaring hole at first base, which at this point seems likely to be manned by Brad Miller, and some questions about the pitching staff...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rays opener will be late-afternoon affair

Rays opener will be late-afternoon affair

The Rays' March 29 season-opener against the Red Sox has been set for a 4 p.m. first pitch at Tropicana Field.This will be the ninth straight year the Rays have opened at home, and the third time they have opened against the rival Red Sox.  The ...
Published: 01/17/18
Tony Perez, Dick Allen to highlight    Ted Williams museum inductions

Tony Perez, Dick Allen to highlight Ted Williams museum inductions

Hall of Famer Tony Perez and longtime Phillies/White Sox star Dick Allen will be inducted into the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame next month in Clearwater.Former Yankees Cy Young Award winner Ron Guidry and longtime Astros ace J.R. Richard also wi...
Published: 01/16/18
Jones: Besties, Ball and bloopers -- itís TV tidbits time

Jones: Besties, Ball and bloopers -- itís TV tidbits time

Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.Best comebackExcuse Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp for getting so carried away that he dropped the queen bee of curse words on live television Sun...
Published: 01/14/18
Jesuit High product Lance McCullers gets big raise, avoids arbitration

Jesuit High product Lance McCullers gets big raise, avoids arbitration

Astros right-hander Lance McCullers, a Tampa native and former Jesuit High standout, reached a one-year deal for $2.45 million on Friday, avoiding arbitration. McCullers, 24, made $548,000 last season.
Published: 01/12/18
Jake Odorizzi, Adeiny Hechavarria lone Rays set for arbitration

Jake Odorizzi, Adeiny Hechavarria lone Rays set for arbitration

ST. PETERSBURG ó For the second straight winter, pitcher Jake Odorizzi is taking the Rays to arbitration.Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria will join him.They were the only two of the nine arbitration-eligible Rays to not agree to a one-year contract by Fr...
Published: 01/12/18
Odorizzi, Hechavarria heading to arbitration

Odorizzi, Hechavarria heading to arbitration

The Rays have reached agreements on 2018 contracts with seven of their nine arbitration-eligible players with pitcher Jake Odorizzi and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria heading to arbitration.Odorizzi made $4.1 million last season after taking the R...
Published: 01/12/18
Alex Colome, Corey Dickerson, Jake Odorizzi among Raysí arbitration-eligible players

Alex Colome, Corey Dickerson, Jake Odorizzi among Raysí arbitration-eligible players

ST. PETERSBURG ó The payroll for the 2018 season will become clearer this afternoon after the Rays and their nine arbitration-eligible players exchange figures on one-year contracts.Those who do not agree to the clubís offer will head to arbitration ...
Published: 01/11/18
Rays announce minor league coaching staffs

Rays announce minor league coaching staffs

Jim Morrison, the one-time manager of the Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs, will return to his old job in Port Charlotte this season.Morrison, the Tampa product, was named as the Stone Crabs manager Wednesday after spending the past four seasons as the ...
Published: 01/10/18