Sunday, November 19, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays lose 6-4 to New York Yankees to cap 1-5 road trip

RECOMMENDED READING


NEW YORK — The events of last September entitle the Rays to drape their answers with the caveat that just about anything really can happen.

But after a dismal effort led to another disappointing loss Sunday, 6-4 to the Yankees to wrap what was supposed to be a pivotal six-game trip with one win, the reality of their situation appears to have hit them.

"I don't think by any means that we're in a good spot," third baseman Evan Longoria said. "We've put ourselves in this spot."

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged that their seasonlong quest for the AL East title is essentially over, as they fell five games out with 16 to play. And with the first wild-card spot even further out of reach, the Rays (78-68) have been reduced to chasing the new second wild card.

"If it wasn't for that, I don't think we'd have much of a shot right now — it'd be pretty tough to come back," rookie starter Matt Moore said. "So obviously that's where we're aiming."

Even that won't be easy, as they are four games behind the Orioles, and also have the Angels in front of them. And all winning the second wild card gets you is a one-game playoff on the road. But at least it's something.

"I love it," Maddon said. "Absolutely love it. I think it's the greatest idea ever. It's the best idea since lights for night baseball."

Sunday's loss, the Rays' seventh in the past 10 games of what was supposed to be a playoff push, was again self-inflicted as Moore put them in an early 5-0 hole, they played sloppily (two errors, wild pitch, four bases stolen, fly ball lost in sun) and — you guessed it — they couldn't quite catch up. It also was frustrating, as both Maddon and DH Matt Joyce were ejected.

Moore imploded in an ugly third inning that ended his day, done in by a combination of two walks, two singles, a wild pitch and a three-run homer by Russell Martin after being down 0-and-2.

Moore didn't have much of an explanation for what changed after an impressive first two innings, but he had a good adjective for his third: "Atrocious."

In two starts on the pivotal road trip, Moore lasted only four and three innings — "Un-Matt-Moore-like," Maddon said — and has lost four straight.

Moore said there are no health or fatigue issues, making it more frustrating. "There's no excuse," he said. "It's got to be way better than that in this situation as a club where we're sitting."

Maddon pegged the issue as the 23-year-old's lack of experience.

"Matt had great stuff, and he was on his way to a really good game, and I believe a lot of that has to do with a little bit of inexperience," he said. "Because even though he had done well last year at the end of the season, it's different. It's different going through an entire major-league baseball season, the wear and tear of it, the emotional component, all of that stuff."

Down 6-1 in the sixth, the Rays actually made it interesting, loading the bases with no outs and scoring two when Longoria's grounder took an odd bounce past third baseman Alex Rodriguez. But Joyce bounced into a double play, adding a run but stripping the momentum. "The big play," Maddon said.

Mathematically, the Rays still have a chance. Their next 10 are against the noncontending Red Sox (a four-game series starting tonight at the Trop) and Blue Jays, then four at Chicago and the last three at home with Baltimore.

"We've got plenty of games left. Other teams can lose. Rays can win," Maddon said. "It's probably a little bit more difficult to see us winning the division, but nevertheless the baseball gods created two wild cards this year. So let's see what happens. If you learned anything from last year, do not give up."

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]

 
Comments
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
UPDATE: Rays to gain draft pick for loss of free agent pitcher Alex Cobb

UPDATE: Rays to gain draft pick for loss of free agent pitcher Alex Cobb

UPDATE, 5:01: Cobb did not accept the offer by the deadline, as expected.DEVELOPING: Sometime before today's 5 p.m. deadline, the Rays will get official word that their $17.4-million slight gamble on Alex Cobb paid off.The Rays made the free-agent ri...
Published: 11/16/17
As he prepares to leave the Rays, how will you remember Alex Cobb?

As he prepares to leave the Rays, how will you remember Alex Cobb?

Presuming Alex Cobb declines the Rays’ one-year, $17.4-million qualifying offer by 5 p.m. today, he has pitched his last game for Tampa Bay.Cobb has received preliminary interest from "lots of teams" already, agent Dan Horwits said. The Cubs and Twin...
Published: 11/16/17
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says progress must continue on new stadium to keep Rays

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says progress must continue on new stadium to keep Rays

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred made clear Thursday that identification of a site for a new Rays stadium is merely the first step for area leaders to show they want to keep the team long-term and that there needs to "consistent forward movement" on the ...
Published: 11/16/17
Sternberg: Tampa Bay Rays' share of new ballpark could be $150 million

Sternberg: Tampa Bay Rays' share of new ballpark could be $150 million

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said Wednesday that the team is "genuinely excited" about the proposed Ybor City site for a new stadium and more than "cautiously optimistic" the project can be completed. But ...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17

Rays journal: No big deals at GM meetings, but possible groundwork laid

By MARC TOPKINLAKE BUENA VISTA — Rays officials left the GM meetings without making any big deals — such as trading Alex Colome or Chris Archer to the Cardinals — but more knowledgeable about the possibilities. "Expectations were to utilize these few...
Published: 11/15/17