Thursday, November 23, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays swept by Orioles

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — And now the Rays are on the clock. …

The momentum from last weekend's encouraging end to their road trip is officially gone as they lost a third straight game to the Orioles, 3-1 Thursday, and now face an improving Indians team before a week-long trip to the West Coast.

"It (stinks) right now," third baseman Evan Longoria said. "We all want to win, and we all want to do our part. And when it doesn't work out, it's definitely frustrating. But continue to work and continue to believe things are going to turn around."

The problems Thursday were familiar as the last-place Rays fell to 15-20, the worst record in the American League north of Houston.

Their starter once again didn't last more than five innings. Although in this case, it was their best pitcher, David Price, from whom they expect more.

"They have a good lineup, just like everybody else in the East, and I just didn't make enough pitches," Price said. "I lost, so absolutely it's frustrating."

And their offense was again unproductive — wasting repeated opportunities, leaving 11 men on, going 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position with their top hitter, Longoria, failing twice in big situations.

"Just not getting it done. That's the bottom line," Longoria said.

Price wasn't bad, but he wasn't good enough to get even an out in the sixth inning, leaving with the Orioles leading 3-1 and poised for more with the bases loaded and none out.

But manager Joe Maddon went to his new toy, Brad Boxberger, and he again dazzled, ending the threat by striking out the next three Orioles on nine pitches.

Still, it wasn't a very satisfying night for Price, who threw 100 pitches (65 strikes) to get only 15 outs, allowing nine hits, including his major-league most-matching ninth homer, a two-run shot by Steve Pearce that put the Orioles ahead in the second. Price struck out a season-low three and walked just one, his last batter.

Down 3-1, the Rays had chance after chance to catch up.

"We had opportunities all over the place, had the right guys up there. It just did not want to play out for us," Maddon said. "I know we're going to start getting those hits in the right moments."

But not Thursday before a Tropicana Field gathering of 11,076.

In the fifth, they loaded the bases with one out after Ben Zobrist walked, Desmond Jennings reached on an infield single and Matt Joyce was hit by a pitch. But Longoria grounded to short, and the Orioles turned a double play, replay confirming the call on the back end Maddon challenged as Pearce dived for the throw.

In the sixth, they had two on with one out. But Yunel Escobar grounded into a fielder's choice — Wil Myers doing a good job to extend the rundown so the other runners could get to second and third — and Ryan Hanigan, pinch-hitting for Jose Molina, grounded out.

In the seventh, they had two on with one out again. But Longoria went down swinging, and James Loney flied out.

And in the ninth, they had two on and none out, but Maddon eschewed the bunt for concern that lead runner Hanigan would get thrown out at third. Jennings bounced into a double play, and Joyce grounded out.

"It's been real up and down and inconsistent," Longoria said. "The goal right now is to just figure out a way to get through it, figure out a way to, when things aren't going our way, turn it around. Whether it's continuing to grind out at-bats, make plays in the field defensively behind our pitchers and continue to be positive."

The Rays are 0-5 this season against the Orioles, scoring only eight runs.

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Happy Turkey Day!Today is a day of tradition.The Macy’s parade. Turkey and stuffing. The Lions and Cowboys.And our annual "Turkey of the Year.’’It’s a tradition started by my former colleague at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the brilliant columnist P...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

When the Rays acquired INF Matt Duffy from the Giants during the 2016 season, we also heard about the giant and somewhat famous cat he had, an up-to-27-pounder named Skeeter.Duffy announced over the weekend on Instagram that the family had to have Sk...
Published: 11/21/17
Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

ST. PETERSBURG — That the Rays went right up to Monday’s 8 p.m. deadline in deciding to add seven players to the 40-man roster, and that a couple they left off seem to be potential Rule 5 draft losses, was apparently a good thing."There’s always some...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
UPDATE: RHP Brent Honeywell among 7 added to Rays 40-man roster

UPDATE: RHP Brent Honeywell among 7 added to Rays 40-man roster

UPDATE, 8:11: RHP Jose Mujica was an additional addition to the roster, beyond the six previously reported. Mujica, 21, was 14-8, 3.04 ERA in 27 starts between Class-A Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery.So among those left unprotected and potentially ...
Published: 11/20/17
Former Devil Ray Aubrey Huff among newcomers to Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Former Devil Ray Aubrey Huff among newcomers to Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Aubrey Huff isn't going to make the Baseball Hall of Fame.But at least the former Devil Rays standout has the satisfaction of making the cut to get onto the ballot, one of 19 first-timers up for election this year.Other newcomers with Rays ties are O...
Published: 11/20/17
Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

After collecting intelligence at last week’s GM meetings, the Rays soon will launch their offseason mission of trading at least a couple of veterans to reduce payroll.The question is how far they will go — how many players they deal, and how big of n...
Published: 11/18/17
Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

The Rays completed the reorganization of their coaching staff by giving Rocco Baldelli the title of major league field coordinator.In being promoted from first-base coach, Baldelli will implement ideas and information from the staff, while assisting ...
Published: 11/17/17
Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays were banking on pitcher Alex Cobb declining their one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer based on the lure of a longer-term and more lucrative deal elsewhere as a free agent.With that decision official Thursday, now the ...
Published: 11/16/17
Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

LAKE BUENA VISTA — MLB commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t want to talk Thursday about what might happen if the current effort to build the Rays a new stadium at the Ybor City site falls through."I’m more focused on working with the community to figure o...
Published: 11/16/17
A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

Here is a message from RHP Alex Cobb after he officially left the Rays Thursday in declining their one-year, $17.4-milllion qualifying offer to seek a bigger and longer pact elsewhere:"Getting to this point in my career is truly bittersweet."Twelve y...
Published: 11/16/17