Monday, January 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays waste Price start, lose to Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — There really wasn't anything else David Price could have done Tuesday to help the Rays to a badly needed win. Not unless he grabbed a bat to knock in one of his seven teammates who actually reached base, or raced out to centerfield to catch the fly ball that Desmond Jennings didn't, leading directly to the 2-0 loss to Boston.

Price was dazzling and dominant for eight innings and a career-high 127 pitches, but with little help from his teammates, it wasn't enough as the fading Rays lost for the 12th time in their past 16 games before 18,605 at the Trop.

Jennings, who has been in a what would have to be called a defensive slump, didn't have much of an explanation for his latest misplay that, followed by an errant throw, set up both of the Red Sox's fifth-inning runs.

"It's a play that should've been made that didn't get made," he said.

There have been a number of those all around as the Rays dropped to 78-65, 8½ games back and just about out of the AL East race and in jeopardy of losing their hold on the second wild-card spot.

They actually got some help, sort of, on Tuesday as their two closest pursuers, the Indians and Oriole, both lost, though to the Royals and Yankees, putting all four teams within three games of them. The Rays remained 2½ behind the wild card-leading Rangers.

Manager Joe Maddon doesn't seem to have any answers about how to shake his team from a skid that has seen it drop from first place to the brink of the playoff picture in a little more than two weeks, saying there was no extra work to be done, lineup changes to be made or speeches to be given.

"There's got to be like this organic moment within the group that all of a sudden just pops and then you're going to see us just take off again," Maddon said. "But it can't be contrived or fabricated. Something's got to happen within this group, whether it's a hit, or a pitcher, I don't know, but something has to occur that's going to get us on the right track again and become more consistent.

"You're at that time of the season, 19 games left, and to try something new or a fabrication, it's not there. Tried and true has got to work. These guys are the guys that are going to take us to the promised land. Something's got to pop among this group, that one wild moment, that's going to get us going again."

Maddon hoped leaving Price out there to battle might do it, admiring the way he retired the first 12 Sox in order, flashing a fastball that hit 95 mph and off-speed pitches that couldn't be touched.

"He could not have done anything more," Maddon said. "I was looking for that to be that moment, to rally around what he had done. You're looking for this different thing to generate the rallying cry. … It didn't happen."

Mike Napoli hit Price's 2-and-2 pitch to deep center to open the fifth, but both Jennings and Maddon said it should have been caught. Jennings broke back the wrong way and wary of taking his eye off the ball couldn't adjust, the result a double. "I didn't get back there in time," he said. "I reached up and it hit. I didn't reach up high enough, I guess."

Jonny Gomes, the former Ray who has tormented his old mates, delivered again, with an RBI single. Jennings made it worse with a weak, off-target throw that missed the cutoff man and was wide to the plate, allowing Gomes to take second. He later came around on a bunt and a sac fly. "The last thing you want to do is set it up for another run for them," Maddon said.

As the Rays keep searching for a way out, the frustration mounts.

"Can't dwell on it," Price said. "We've got 20 games left, 19, however many we have left. You dwell now, we'll be hanging out in October."

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]tampabay.com. Follow him on Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays.

   
Comments
Brent Honeywell, Willy Adames lead Rays prospects in Baseball America’s top 100

Brent Honeywell, Willy Adames lead Rays prospects in Baseball America’s top 100

The Rays had two players in the top 20 and six overall in Baseball America's annual ranking of the game's top 100 prospects.RHP Brent Honeywell heads the Rays contingent at No. 14 with shortstop Willy Adames at No. 19.The other ranked Rays are 1B/LHP...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Why free agency hasn’t turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

Why free agency hasn’t turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

RHP Alex Cobb never expected to be going into late January without knowing where he was going for spring training.The longtime Ray's first foray into free agency hasn't gone as planned, much like the 150-plus others waiting for something to give in a...
Published: 01/20/18
Updated: 01/21/18
Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson has much to be excited about heading into his second season in the majors.But before packing for spring training, he took some time last weekend to provide help for families needing assistance in dealing with cancer.Hi...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Longtime Rays star Evan Longoria was formally introduced in San Francisco today, adding the visual of him pulling on his new Giants jersey, switching to No. 10 since 3 is retired.Longoria said he welcomed the chance to play on a contending team stock...
Published: 01/19/18
What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

ST. PETERSBURG — Since entering an off-season planning major change and pledging to be open to "anything and everything,'' the Rays have made a few minor moves and one massive one in trading franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria to San Francisco....
Published: 01/19/18
Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale today 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 the...
Published: 01/19/18
Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Rd., Port Charlotte, 33948Get tickets here: (941) 206-4487Pitchers report: Feb. 13. Squad reports: Feb. 19TEAM SCHEDULE(games at 1:05 unless noted)(ss - split squad)Feb 23 at Orioles (ss) (Sarasota)Feb 23 PIRATE...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Former Phillies and Indians manager Charlie Manuel will receive the Ted Williams Lifetime Achievement Award on Feb. 10 in Clearwater.The honor is bestowed by the Ted Williams Museum at its annual Hitters Hall of Fame induction, moving this year from ...
Published: 01/19/18
Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Armwood High product Matt Joyce, the current A's and former Rays outfielder, hosts his ninth annual Sweet Swingin' charity baseball camp for kids 6-12 on Sunday at the North Brandon youth baseball complex (2929 S Kingsway Rd, Seffner).Registration st...
Published: 01/18/18
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...
Published: 01/17/18