Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays shut down by Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas — If there is going to be any evening out for the egregious blown call that cost the Rays a chance to win Monday, payback was not immediate.

"It hasn't shown up yet," Rays manager Joe Maddon said after Tuesday's 6-1 loss to the Rangers. "It's on a slow train from Midland right now."

They were done in as much by a series of bloops, bleeders and slow rollers than anything more damaging or self-inflicted.

"Frustrating night," Maddon said. "We lost the battle of inches today. That's what I was thinking about in the dugout. … That happens sometimes."

Roberto Hernandez was the unfortunate victim, charged with six runs (five earned) after allowing eight hits, though only two or three that were well-struck. He said he was pleased with how he threw, but not the way things turned out.

"It was tough," Ben Zobrist said. "They didn't really crush the ball tonight. I thought Roberto threw pretty well, and to give up five runs or whatever he did on some of those hits they had I thought was a tough break, and didn't show how well I thought he pitched."

Combine that with another night of minimal offense and it was a bad outcome, the hitters shackled this time by Texas' Nick Tepesch, a 24-year-old making his big-league debut after spending last season at Double A. Without much of a scouting report, they got only two hits through the first seven innings off Tepesch and four total, and hit only four balls out of the infield.

"It was tough, we really couldn't watch any video. There wasn't much that we could see what he was doing," Zobrist said. "He probably had a lot more information on us than we had on him, and it worked out for him."

A week into the season, the Rays (3-5) haven't shown many signs of the improved offense they were expecting, averaging less than four runs a game.

Small samples can be unfair, but Tuesday's lineup included five players hitting .222 or lower, including shortstop Yunel Escobar, who was dropped from sixth to seventh and is down to .111.

"We just haven't been hitting the ball well as a group," Maddon said. "It's just one of those moments we've got to keep grinding it out. The hits will come back to us. The biggest thing I try to do is keep their confidence up."

Plus, the starting pitching hasn't been anywhere near the level they are used to and expect to be over the bulk of the season, the bullpen has had some bad moments and while the defense has been impressive, they have allowed way too many runs with two outs — 27 of 44.

After wasting their first chance when Tepesch walked the bases loaded in the second — extending their streak of futility to 0-for-10 with the sacks full — the Rays took a 1-0 lead in the third. But it didn't last, Hernandez making what may have been his biggest mistake, walking No. 9 hitter Leonys Martin after being ahead 0-and-2, leading to a two-run single by Lance Berkman at most 12 inches out of Zobrist's reach, a sign of how the night was going.

"I know it looks bad and it was not a good game for us in a sense,'' Maddon said. "But we did a lot of good things once again. … It's just so early in the year that you can't get concerned. ''

Comments
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays loss to Red Sox

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays loss to Red Sox

Marc Topkin's takeaways from Rays 4-2 loss to Red Sox on Tuesday:* The Rays record against a Red Sox team they consider a measuring stick doesn't look very good at 3-8. But, as manager Kevin Cash and several players pointed out, there is some consola...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays journal: Critics don’t faze Sergio Romo or team

Rays journal: Critics don’t faze Sergio Romo or team

ST. PETERSBURG — Criticisms of the Rays' latest innovative pitching strategy have piled up since Angels INF Zack Cosart said after Sunday's game that starting RHP Sergio Romo to get the first three-six outs was "bad for baseball.''One of the lo...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Willy Adames homers, but Rays fall to Red Sox and suffer injuries

Willy Adames homers, but Rays fall to Red Sox and suffer injuries

ST. PETERSBURG — Top prospect Willy Adames is only going to get to stay with the Rays for a few days, so good for him for making the most of it with a home run in his first big-league game, and off Red Sox ace Chris Sale no less.But the good fe...
Updated: 4 hours ago
For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Faria on the mound

For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Faria on the mound

UPDATE, 6:04: Cash said the Rays don't know yet if Wendle will be  back Thursday or Friday, though with the Sox starting RHP Rick Porcello on Thursday that would make sense. …  Cash said OF Carlos Gomez (groin strain) will run the bas...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Rays call up top prospect Willy Adames – but only for a couple days

Rays call up top prospect Willy Adames – but only for a couple days

The Rays have called up top prospect INF Willy Adames – though likely for a short stay.INF Joey Wendle was placed on the paternity list Tuesday, which allows him to miss up to three days.Manager Kevin Cash said Adames is headed back to Triple-A...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Rays journal: Christian Arroyo set to play first game at Tropicana Field

Rays journal: Christian Arroyo set to play first game at Tropicana Field

ST. PETERSBURG  — Christian Arroyo has watched more than 50 Rays games at Tropicana Field from the stands. Has been on the turf for his younger sister's gymnastics competitions and once, while it was in football configuration, to take grou...
Published: 05/21/18
There’s a swing by Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier …. and a gender reveal for November baby

There’s a swing by Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier …. and a gender reveal for November baby

Tampa Bay Rays OF Kevin Kiermaier and his wife Marisa are having a boy.Kiermaier shared the news on Twitter over the weekend in a most appropriate themed gender reveal event — taking a swing at ball that exploded with blue powder.Looks like im ...
Published: 05/21/18
What’s next for the Rays’ new pitching strategy

What’s next for the Rays’ new pitching strategy

ST. PETERSBURG — When Kevin Cash called team president Matt Silverman Sunday morning to wish him happy birthday, he expected to get back some form of an "attaboy" for implementing the Rays' latest unorthodox pitching strategy in using reliever ...
Published: 05/21/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Angels game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Angels game

* It's always interesting to think of how many amazing plays you see made in a game, then often a simple one — such as the fourth-inning comebacker to Rays RHP Matt Andriese — gets messed up and costs teams heavily, as that led to two run...
Published: 05/20/18
Rays journal: Pitching plan works, until Sergio Romo leaves in second inning

Rays journal: Pitching plan works, until Sergio Romo leaves in second inning

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Doubling down on their innovativeness and starting veteran reliever Sergio Romo for a second straight day worked out fine Sunday for the Rays.It was the less-effective pitchers who followed, plus the ineffectiveness of their h...
Published: 05/20/18