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)

Tampa Bay Rays lose 2-1 to Seattle Mariners

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays just can't stop losing.

Saturday, it was two more players — DH Luke Scott going back on the disabled list, starter Alex Cobb knocked out in the second inning with a bruised leg — and yet another game, this one 2-1 to the Mariners.

As many problems as the Rays have had, the most troubling continues to be their impotent offense. And if they are planning to make a serious run for a playoff spot — which, despite a 49-46 record, remains entirely possible given the crowded AL wild-card competition — it seems increasingly evident they have to do something besides continue to wait for Evan Longoria's eventual return from the disabled list.

"It's just in and out," said centerfielder B.J. Upton, who failed in one of the biggest spots Saturday. "We're being pitched tough. Some guys are being pitched tougher than others. We've just got to keep going. It's not going to go on like this forever."

Maybe not.

But since sweeping a day-night doubleheader from the Phillies on June 24 — and who thought that would be the highlight of their summer? — the Rays have been held to four or fewer runs in 18 of their 23 games and are batting .230, only .194 with runners in scoring position.

Saturday was more of the same, as the 2-0 hole Cobb put them in with another rough start turned out to be too much, and a waste of a sterling four-inning, six-strikeout relief effort by Cesar Ramos.

"Just needed three runs to get it done," manager Joe Maddon said. "Just could not do it."

Their shortcoming has been a team effort, but Hideki Matsui — the once-proud slugger — has become the focal point of their failures, booed by segments of the Tropicana Field crowd of 18,800 after another 0-for-4, the first three times up with men on, dropping his average to .149.

With Scott out, the Rays apparently will stick with Matsui at least for a while longer, though perhaps in a lesser role as outfielder Sam Fuld seems likely to come off the disabled list by Tuesday.

Maddon thinks Matsui is trying too hard. Matsui, 38, remains confident he can help.

"There's been opportunities there and I haven't been able to make anything out of it," Matsui said through interpreter Roger Kahlon. "There's nothing wrong with the fans booing. The best thing you can do is try to make the most of the next opportunity."

Shut out into the sixth by Seattle lefty Jason Vargas, who is 3-0, 1.77 over his past five starts and has 10 wins overall, the Rays had a prime opportunity.

They had one run in, thanks to two singles and a throwing error by rightfielder Ichiro Suzuki, and the tying run on second with no outs. Maddon opted to play for the tie and had Sean Rodriguez bunt Desmond Jennings to third.

But Upton swung at the first pitch from Shawn Kelley and popped up, and Carlos Peña — hitting .129 with runners in scoring position, second lowest in the majors — went down flailing against lefty Oliver Perez.

"That's just been our biggest problem this year," Maddon said, "just the inability to win some close games based on being able to score the run when we need to."

That's only part of it.

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

Mariners 2

Rays 1

Tampa Bay Rays lose 2-1 to Seattle Mariners 07/21/12 [Last modified: Sunday, July 22, 2012 12:35am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays series preview: Who are the Mariners?

    Blogs

    The Rays are back home again, duking it out with another club in the American League Wild Card chase — the Mariners, who have a slight advantage over Tampa Bay. Here's the information you need to know about Seattle before the action kicks off.

    Record: 61-61, third in AL West

    Starter Erasmo Ramirez will face the Rays after they traded him to the Mariners in July.
  2. Florida Gators' Malik Zaire: 'This is everything to me'

    Blogs

    GAINESVILLE — We're two weeks and one day away from the Florida Gators' Sept. 2 season opener against Michigan, and the quarterback position remains unresolved.

    "This is everything to me..." said Malik Zaire, the grad transfer from Notre Dame. "I have everything to prove, everything to lose."
  3. 1997 USF Bulls: Jay Mize, a 'relentless, fearless' safety and entrepreneur

    College

    USF football alumnus Jay Mize, 39, poses for a portrait at Irish 31 Pub House & Eatery located at 1611 W Swann Avenue in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, August 8, 2017. Mize, a member of the first USF football team, has evolved into an immensely successful businessman and entrepreneur and he owns the Irish 31 pubs.
  4. Revisiting the inaugural 1997 USF Bulls football roster

    College

    The 1997 USF football team. (University of South Florida, USF Bulls)
  5. 1997 USF Bulls: Charlie Jackson navigates life's speed bumps

    College

    USF wide receiver Charlie Jackson (1) strives for extra yardage as he is brought down from behind by the Citadel's Rob Nichols (29) in the first quarter on Sept. 14, 1997. (Times 1997)