Sunday, June 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays fall 9-5 to Oakland Athletics, lose two of three in home series

ST. PETERSBURG — The day couldn't have started better for the Rays, with rookie left-hander Matt Moore cruising in a 10-pitch first inning and his offense backing him up with four runs in the bottom half.

"Ninety-nine percent of the time, that's a 'W,' " shortstop Sean Rodriguez said.

"We were rolling," rightfielder Matt Joyce said. "Pretty much the mind-set was, we're going to have a good game. There's really no chance for them to win."

But Moore "saw things get out of hand pretty quickly," allowing eight runs in 42/3 innings as the Rays lost 9-5 to the A's on Sunday in front of 23,873 at Tropicana Field.

"Our guys put up plenty of runs, we had every bit to slam that door shut and just put that game out of reach," Moore said. "And I just let us down."

Though Tampa Bay (19-10) finished its homestand 5-2, it ended by dropping two straight to snap a five-series winning streak and falling out of first place in the American League East, a half-game behind the Orioles.

The Rays also lost leadoff man Desmond Jennings, whose status is in question after leaving in the second inning with left knee soreness.

But the biggest story line was Moore, who continues to struggle with his fastball command. This time his problems led to the shortest start of his career.

Neither the Rays nor Moore appear concerned. Manager Joe Maddon said the 22-year-old is going through the typical "inconsistencies of youth," similar to what left-hander David Price and others have dealt with.

"I don't want to say almost expected, but it's not surprising that something like this happened," Maddon said. "We have to keep working with him, keep showing support. And when we do that, he's going to come out the other side."

Moore (1-2, 5.71 ERA) said he physically feels fine and hasn't lost confidence. He is most disappointed that the team has won just two of his six starts, even though he has pitched with the lead in five of them.

That included Sunday. The Rays loaded the bases with three straight walks to start the first, then got a sacrifice fly by Jeff Keppinger, a two-run single by Joyce and a RBI single by Rodriguez for a 4-0 lead.

But Moore gave it all back in the third, allowing five runs partly due to his continued trouble with falling behind hitters. Three of the hits in the inning came on three-ball counts, including a three-run homer by Brandon Inge on a 3-and-1 fastball.

"(Inge) did exactly what he was supposed to do with a 3-1 high fastball," Moore said. "Especially after he timed up four of them."

Moore gave up three more runs in the fifth before getting pulled after 102 pitches. A's hitters were 5-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

"That wasn't fun," Moore said. "It turned into eight pretty quickly before I really realized it."

Moore believes he'll bounce back and wants to give the team the same confidence the other starters provide.

"As soon as these guys come in the locker room and they see the starting pitcher, it's like, 'All right, we're winning today,' " Moore said. "Well, as of right now, through my first six starts, it's not really been that. So we're obviously looking for something to change."

   
Comments
For starters: Rays at Yankees, looking to avoid a four-game sweep

For starters: Rays at Yankees, looking to avoid a four-game sweep

UPDATE, 11:37: Interesting decision by the Rays to move Adames to 2B today and reinstall Hechavarria at SS as he came off DL following Arroyo injury.Here is the Rays lineup:Duffy 3bBauers 1bRamos cCron dhAdames 2bHechavarria ssGomez rfRefsnyder lfFie...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

The Rays are still talking, as they should, about playing for something this season. The reality is that almost every move they've made, going back to the end of last season, and in some cases further, has been about 2019 and beyond.Clearing out vete...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

NEW YORK — Kevin Cash was not going to go all Lou Piniella on his Rays, raging and ripping and roaring over their latest mess, a 4-1 Saturday loss to the Yankees that didn't feel that close.Which is too bad because Piniella, the volcanic former...
Published: 06/16/18
Rays journal: Arroyo on DL, Hechavarria returns

Rays journal: Arroyo on DL, Hechavarria returns

NEW YORK — Just when it seemed like SS Adeiny Hechavarria might not play another game for the Rays, he will rejoin them on Sunday.The Rays announced after Saturday's 4-1 loss that INF Christian Arroyo was placed on the DL due to an oblique stra...
Published: 06/16/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

RHP Ryne Stanek did his job as the opener just fine in getting four outs on Saturday, but for the Rays' unorthodox pitching plan to work it takes a team effort. And LHP Ryan Yarbrough's inability to throw strikes quickly put them in a hole.The experi...
Published: 06/16/18
For starters: Rays at Yankees, trying to break through

For starters: Rays at Yankees, trying to break through

UPDATE, 11:49: Cash said he played Cron at 1B in an effort to get him more involved in the game, indicated he may do so again Sunday (with Bauers off vs. LH Sabathia) and should have done so more as Cron struggled. … Cash reiterated that CF Kev...
Published: 06/16/18
Rays owner Stuart Sternberg frustrated, but optimistic

Rays owner Stuart Sternberg frustrated, but optimistic

NEW YORK — So what does the boss — lowercase, of course, around here — think of this up-and-down, hot-and-cold Rays season so far? Appropriately, a variety of things.In a 30-minute chat with the Tampa Bay Times before Friday's 5-0 l...
Published: 06/15/18
Rays journal: Nathan Eovaldi pitches well against his ex-team but gets no help

Rays journal: Nathan Eovaldi pitches well against his ex-team but gets no help

NEW YORK — RHP Nathan Eovaldi made an impressive return to Yankee Stadium on Friday to face his high-powered former teammates.It's too bad he didn't get any help from his current mates, in what ended up a 5-0 Rays loss.Eovaldi was in command an...
Published: 06/15/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Give RHP Nathan Eovaldi credit for not letting emotions get in the way in his return to Yankee Stadium. He said he planned to treat it as all business, despite memories and friendships and he did just that, working impressively into the eighth.The Ra...
Published: 06/15/18
For starters: Rays at Yankees, with Eovaldi back on a familiar mound

For starters: Rays at Yankees, with Eovaldi back on a familiar mound

Coming off Thursday's 4-3 loss, the Rays will face the Yankees again tonight, and they are starting a pitcher quite familiar with the Yankee Stadium mound, RHP Nathan Eovaldi.Having spent 2015 and 2016 with the Yankees until sustaining the elbow inju...
Published: 06/15/18