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)

Rodney blows save, Rays lose to Yankees

Lyle Overbay trots past Rays first baseman James Loney after putting the Yankees ahead 4-3 with a two-out home run in the 11th inning.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Lyle Overbay trots past Rays first baseman James Loney after putting the Yankees ahead 4-3 with a two-out home run in the 11th inning.

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Joe Maddon was attempting as much damage control as he could after Saturday's latest debacle, another stunning, it-can't-be-happening-again 4-3 11-inning loss to the Yankees.

Maddon insisted that closer Fernando Rodney, who blew another ninth-inning lead, really wasn't that far off his game, that they hadn't lost any confidence in him and that, yes, Rodney was going to remain in the closer's role.

Also, that the Yankees had some good fortune. The Rays had a prime chance to win in the 10th with the bases loaded and one out. And it was a solo homer by Lyle Overbay off Josh Lueke that actually decided the game.

But there is no question the repeated late-inning losses — this the third when they were a strike away from victory — have done some damage.

"It's heartbreaking, frustrating, the same stuff," outfielder Matt Joyce said in the funereal and mostly empty clubhouse, with Rodney among the missing. "There's not much you can do. You score some runs, you go out there with the lead, you just have to find a way to close the door, and obviously we haven't. …

"I'm sure everybody is frustrated, and doubt tends to creep in. So for us, we've got to find the confidence."

As obvious as the tangible impact has been — the Rays back to .500 at 24-24, despite a likely unsustainable five-week run as the majors' best offense, and six games back in the American League East — the intangible could be worse.

Maddon admits that blown ninth-inning leads are the cruelest blows for a team — and the one thing they never expected to be the issue for this team.

"It's really almost incredible to think that is our problem right now," Maddon said. "Because that would be the one thing that I thought would have been our strong point at the beginning of the season."

Maddon brushed off any talk of taking Rodney, who has blown five of 14 save chances (after only two last year) and has walked a staggering 18 in 19⅓ innings (only 15 last year), out of the closer's role and going by committee, saying they are set up to do things a certain way and have to maintain belief in the process and the people.

"I'm not going to run away from guys when they are struggling a little bit and I don't think he's struggling a lot,'' Maddon said. "It's a little bit.''

Whether Rodney has lost confidence is a question that will have to wait for another day as he — uncharacteristically — left without talking to reporters.

Not that he may have had much to say given how the game got away.

Handed a 3-1 lead after a solid six-inning start by Matt Moore, Rodney quickly got two outs and had most of the Trop crowd of 25,874 on its feet with a 3-and-2 count on Overbay.

But he walked Overbay and got upset at a balk call, probably more upset than he should have been since the Rays were indifferent to the runner. He then gave up an opposite-field double to just called up Brennan Boesch and a single to center to Brett Gardner. With a late throw home by Desmond Jennings, the lead, once again, was gone.

"Two outs, nobody on, you've got a walk, a check swing, a blooper — and everybody's sad," Maddon said. "I mean it's just really unbelievable."

Actually, the way it has been going, not so much.

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@tampabay.com.

Rodney blows save, Rays lose to Yankees 05/25/13 [Last modified: Saturday, May 25, 2013 11:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi admitted he probably should have gone on the DL sooner than late July for the back stiffness that was keeping him from throwing the ball where he wanted to. He has since found an impressive groove, with another strong outing Saturday.

  2. Matt Baker's takeaways from Florida State-N.C. State

    College

    RB Cam Akers still looks like a former high school quarterback at times. His first two touches (30 yards) were special, but the freshman juked instead of powering ahead on his third (an unsuccessful third-and-1 rush). That's why the Seminoles are easing him in, as they did with Dalvin Cook three years ago.

    Running back Cam Akers carries for a first down during the third quarter as FSU eases the freshman into the college game.
  3. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  4. Lightning confused by NHL's slashing crackdown

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — D Victor Hedman said the joke in the Lightning locker room before Friday's exhibition game was that the over/under on slashing penalties would be six.

    "It was the over again," Hedman quipped.

    Wing Ryan Callahan, left,  pursues the Predators’ Colton Sissons, being careful how he uses his stick given the crackdown on slashing in the preseason. “It’s hard to defend when you’re so used to doing something for so long and now it’s a penalty,” Callahan says.
  5. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday

    Bucs

    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.