Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays swept by Jays as they head to Boston

The game’s only run scores in the second as Adam Lind beats Shawn Riggans’ tag on Rod Barajas’ sacrifice fly to left.

Associated Press

The game’s only run scores in the second as Adam Lind beats Shawn Riggans’ tag on Rod Barajas’ sacrifice fly to left.

TORONTO — The Rays insist they aren't doing anything differently, the pennant race isn't affecting them and, despite being swept by the Blue Jays and losing five of their past six, they aren't feeling any extra pressure going into tonight's opener of the showdown series in Boston.

At least, that's what they're saying.

The evidence, compounded by a 1-0 loss Sunday, says otherwise. They're not getting the big hits when they need them, they're making more mistakes and, most significantly, they're not winning like they did most of the past five months.

And all just in time for the Red Sox, who won again Sunday to slice the Rays' American League East lead to 1½ games, the thinnest since late July.

"It doesn't help, it doesn't give you that good vote of confidence," said Cliff Floyd, one of the Rays' few veterans who have been through significant Septembers. "We have to bring ourselves back down and do the little things we've been doing the whole season."

As much as they talk about how, with three weeks left, there is no reason to panic — manager Joe Maddon, perhaps symbolically, had a schedule in his hands during his postgame media session — they have reason to be wary of what lies ahead.

The Sox, with their top three pitchers lined up and their lineup fortified, have a chance to take over first place with a sweep, and Fenway Park — where the Rays haven't won since last September and will be playing for the first time since the June 5 brawl — will be ferocious the next three nights.

"We're real excited to play them," Sox manager Terry Francona said in Texas on Sunday. "We've played ourselves into a position where these games are really important. It's exciting."

The Rays (85-56) are trying not to look at it that way.

"We know what we've got to do, and we know what they've got to do," said pitcher Matt Garza, Sunday's hard-luck loser. "Right now, we're on top and they're chasing us. We keep playing our ball, this thing will turn around. We're in a little bit of a rut, five out of our last six, that's nothing bad."

Maddon insists the Rays haven't changed, that the preparation, the pregame banter, the dugout atmosphere is the same.

Further, he's not worried about it.

"There's still no concerns," Maddon said. "The motto, the mantra, has been to play with consistent effort, and we're doing that. Sometimes you lose when that happens. All the right things are there. (The Jays) just beat us. They're pitching really well, best pitching staff in the league. They've won eight in a row now. We happened to catch them at the wrong time. Those things happen."

That is part of the story, as Jays rookie left-hander David Purcey shut them down for the second time in two weeks, reversing the 1-0 score from Aug. 27.

But the Rays haven't been playing particularly well: Sunday they had two runners picked off, made two errors, failed to get down another bunt and went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

"I think we might be putting a little bit of pressure on ourselves right now, and we've just got to loosen up and go play our game, play the way we've been playing all year," said centerfielder B.J. Upton, who made one of the baserunning mistakes.

The most common diagnosis in the clubhouse is that they aren't getting the breaks they were most of the season and thus are losing the kind of close games they had been winning. But at this time of year, they may have to make their own. And they might want to start in Boston.

"We have to go there and win, and that's part of it," veteran reliever Dan Wheeler said. "If we're going to win in October, this is where it begins."

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@sptimes.com

Jays 1

Rays 0

Fenway folly

Why are the Rays winless in Boston? The stats from those games:

Rays Sox
Wins 0 6
Runs 16 45
ERA 7.88 2.33
Avg. .229 .330
Hits 47 65
2Bs 10 20
3Bs 1 0
HRs 5 5
Walks 18 30
Ks 48 40
OBP .300 .426
SLG .361 .508
OPS .661 .934


Magic numbers

13 to make playoffs

20 to win division



A

Team W L GB
Rays 85 56
Red Sox 84 58
Blue Jays 76 66
Yankees 76 67 10
Orioles 63 78 22
L East standings

Team W L GB
Rays 85 56
Red Sox 84 58
Blue Jays 76 66
Yankees 76 67 10
Orioles 63 78 22

Rays swept by Jays as they head to Boston 09/07/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 9, 2008 1:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo (25) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) as he rounds third on his lead off home run in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, May 22, 2017.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    OF/DH Corey Dickerson missed out on a good birthday gift when AL player of the week honors went instead to Detroit's J.D. Martinez. Dickerson hit .385 with five homers, nine RBIs and nine runs; Martinez went .389-4-9-7 and got the nod.

  3. Rays journal: Alex Cobb learning to work with what he has

    Sports

    ST. PETERSBURG

    If this were 2012 or 2013, even 2014, RHP Alex Cobb would have problems. He would find himself working with only two of his three pitches, with the missing pitch being his trusty changeup.

    Alex Cobb, working mainly with his fastball and curveball, is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA over his past five starts. The Rays right-hander tries to continue his strong stretch tonight against the Angels.
  4. Rays vs. Angels, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Angels

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  5. Fennelly: This season's Chris Archer is a pleasure to watch

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    At this time last season, through 10 starts, Rays pitcher Chris Archer was 3-5 on his way to 9-19.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, May 21, 2017.