Make us your home page

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 fourth in five games, 7-0 to Kansas City Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Rays are still talking about winning the American League East.

A bigger concern is just winning another game.

A second straight poor performance in a 7-0 loss to the last-place Royals is turning the Rays' September stumble into a free fall — three straight losses, and five in their past six games, all against last-place teams — that not only cost them their advantage in the division race but should be raising concerns about their readiness for next week's playoffs.

"I don't think we're as concerned as much as we are unhappy about it," said James Shields, who contributed to the cause with another poor start. "We definitely got to get better these next two games. These last two games we played, both sides of the coin, the pitching and the defense, and the hitting, I think needs to step it up a little bit these next couple games just to get ready for the playoffs."

Friday's breakdown was thorough: Shields allowed a career-high-matching 12 hits and extended his winless streak to six; the offense was held to two hits, one a bunt single, by journeyman lefty Bruce Chen (who logged his first career shutout); and the defense continued to look dazed and confused.

The Rays were held to three hits or fewer for the MLB-high 14th time and were shut out for the third time in five games.

"Not good," manager Joe Maddon said. "We have not played well the last two days, and we have to do better. I don't know if it's a little bit of fatigue. I know it's definitely not nerves or pressure."

In the meantime, the Rays dropped one-half game out of first place and lost control of their own destiny in the AL East race with the Yankees, who were rained out in Boston on Friday and have an afternoon/night doubleheader today.

The Rays (94-66) and Yankees (94-65) have a magic number of three, which means it's possible that either team could clinch tonight, but more likely the race will continue until Sunday.

If the Rays, who have the tiebreaker advantage, win their final two games, they still need at least one Yankees loss. If the Yankees win their final three, they would win the division, and get the accompanying benefit of homefield advantage in the first and possibly second round of the playoffs, plus a date with Texas rather than Minnesota.

Of course, if the Rays don't start playing better, it may not matter whom they face, though from Maddon on down they insisted after Friday's game there was no reason to worry.

"I don't think it's going to have any relation on the way that we play in the postseason," said Evan Longoria, whose injury absence appears part of the problem.

"We're not playing well, and yeah, from the outside it's definitely not easy to watch. But hopefully a lot of it is just mental and not physical, and I think that's maybe the way it is right now, guys are kind of giving themselves a little bit of a mental break before we go into everything that the postseason has to offer.

"But it's okay; we're going to be all right. I've seen this team bounce back. We've seen it 1,000 times. I'm just waiting for the day that I can get back in there."

Maddon took a similar view, insisting he was confident they would get things turned around.

"We've gone though these little things in the past, and we normally come out in pretty good shape, so I totally believe as we move this thing forward, as we get to next week, we'll be fine," he said.

"I'd just like for us to be able to win two games and see what our chances are at that point of winning a division and still having a chance for the best record. That's what I'm still focused on."

Marc Topkin can be reached at

Royals 7

Rays 0

Tampa Bay Rays lose fourth in five games, 7-0 to Kansas City Royals 10/02/10 [Last modified: Saturday, October 2, 2010 6:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays up next: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: Off

    Up next: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field.

  2. Tom Jones' Two Cents: Bucs, Jaguars both get blame for terrible preseason ratings

    TV and Radio

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst of a weekend in televised sports.

    Worst matchup

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) tries to get past Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Brian Dixon (41) and safety Barry Church (42) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) JVS119
  3. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    This is the Blake Snell everyone has been waiting for. Working off his fastball. Challenging hitters. Staying focused regardless of how many runners are on base. Snell has pitched at least six innings for three straight starts. He had a rough start to the year, but it looks like he has figured it out.

  4. Blake Snell shines as Rays beat Mariners to end skid (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell delivered the best outing of his young career and the Rays offense continued its home run-hitting ways for a 3-0 victory Sunday against the Mariners in front of 13,354 at Tropicana Field.

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) with starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) after the top of the seventh inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  5. Bucs' Demar Dotson should be back from injury next week


    The Bucs got good news on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI showed only a mild right groin sprain and should be back at practice next week.

    Bucs tackle Demar Dotson, shown last year when he signed a three-year contract extension, should only miss a week of practice with his groin injury and can return healthy for the Bucs' season opener at Miami in three weeks. [Octavio Jones | Times]