Thursday, May 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays lose to New York Yankees 5-3

NEW YORK — Joe Maddon's plan for Saturday night was old-school Italian, the Rays manager heading over to Carmine's, the famous restaurant not far off Broadway that is one of his favorite New York stops.

But before he headed out of Yankee Stadium after the 5-3 loss, he had country music on his mind, suggesting that maybe a twangy ballad would be the best way to tell the all-too-familiar story of their latest disappointing defeat.

"Again, we've sang this song," Maddon said. "I'm sure we could make a nice country and western song out of this whole thing."

Such as?

"Between your dog and your pickup, we came up short again. We came up short agin."

Agin and agin and agin.

Whatever ground, momentum and emotional stability the Rays gained on Friday night they gave back on Saturday, James Shields putting them in an early hole by allowing back-to-back homers in the second and another run in the fifth, and the offense — cue the fiddles and banjos — unable to make it up. It was the 15th of their past 16 losses to come by one or two runs.

"We've got to be able to score some runs sometimes, too," Maddon said. "It's not always about our pitchers giving up a couple points."

They fell to 78-67 and back to four games behind the Yankees in the American League East race, though still three back of the Orioles for the second AL wild card, and lost another day off the calendar, with only 17 games left.

In Maddon's office and on one side of the clubhouse, patience was being preached.

"We've still got some time," Shields said.

But in another corner, not so much.

"We don't have a lot of time," third baseman Evan Longoria said. "I'm not going to say that anymore. We don't have a lot of time left. We continue to lose, we're going to find ourselves mathematically eliminated pretty quickly."

Shields felt he made a good 0-and-1 pitch to Granderson, who swatted it into the jet stream that blows out to right for a two-run homer, his 39th of the season.

Shields couldn't, and shouldn't, have felt as good about the 1-and-1 cutter to Nunez, the reserve infielder who hadn't homered in nearly a year, since a Sept. 21 game against Shields, against whom he is 7-for-16.

As if that weren't bad enough, the Yankees fourth run, on a two-out, fifth-inning Derek Jeter single after Shields thought he had him struck out, proved to be the difference.

The Rays, stymied again by Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova — "He likes our uniform, I know that" Maddon noted — got one back on Longoria's eighth homer since coming off the DL Aug. 7.

Then two more runs in the seventh, Maddon making it obvious he was trying to get on top against the more vulnerable middle of the New York bullpen.

The odd rally included four pinch-hitters and a pinch-runner, two pitching changes, a poorly timed (and even more poorly executed) bunt by Ben Francisco, and an actual big hit from Luke Scott, who singled in two — his first multi-RBI day since July 8.

But that was it, as they went quickly in the eighth, then had a slim chance in the ninth when Francisco singled with one out, but only as much of a chance as sending up Ryan Roberts, rookie Stephen Vogt (0-for-17 in his career) and Elliot Johnson against Yankees closer Rafael Soriano could give you. (Roberts flew out, Vogt walked, Johnson struck out.)

"Again, it's the offense," Longoria said. "We've asked a lot from the pitching staff the whole year, and I can't say it enough — we've got to get hits, we've got to produce runs and however we have to do it, we have to do it.

"The time is now."

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]

 
Comments
For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Snell on the mound

For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Snell on the mound

Having lost a pair of close games, the Rays will try again tonight to beat the Red Sox, and will have LHP Blake Snell on the mound.SS Willy Adames is in the lineup for the Rays for the third and what is expected to be the final time before being sent...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays morning after: Chris Archer, David Price sure matched up like they meant it

Rays morning after: Chris Archer, David Price sure matched up like they meant it

For two guys who said they didn't make much of matching up, they sure dueled like they did in Boston's 4-1 victory that was decided after they left.Chris Archer, the Rays current top starter, worked six impressive innings, allowing one run and four h...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays journal: Could Sergio Romo be looking at pitching 3 straight games?

Rays journal: Could Sergio Romo be looking at pitching 3 straight games?

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays' pitching rotation for the weekend series against the Orioles could have a familiar look: Romo, Romo, Romo.Manager Kevin Cash said using veteran right-handed reliever Sergio Romo as the "opener" in all three upcoming g...
Published: 05/24/18
Rookie’s error in 9th helps doom Rays against Red Sox

Rookie’s error in 9th helps doom Rays against Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — Willy Adames was so excited to be in the big leagues, even if was for just a three-day cameo callup. So thrilled to make a smashing debut with a homer on Tuesday. So proud to have his parents and sister fly in from the Dom...
Published: 05/24/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Red Sox game

In a way, the timing of RHP Jake Faria's oblique injury seemed manageable in that RHP Nathan Eovaldi is close to coming off the disabled list and can step in. But on the other hand, the Rays finally could have four regular starters. Imagine that.Ther...
Published: 05/23/18
Rays’ Jake Faria may be out until August, Vidal Nuno called up

Rays’ Jake Faria may be out until August, Vidal Nuno called up

UPDATE, 5:32: Faria is looking at at extended absence, potentially into August. Cash said an estimate of 6-8 weeks was on the optimistic side. "From what we found out he got it pretty good," Cash said.  "So it could be a little bit longer than t...
Published: 05/23/18
For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Archer facing Price

For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Archer facing Price

UPDATE, 5:18: Ramos' bruised left thumb is feeling better and though he's not in the lineup Cash said he is available for emergency duty. … OF Carlos Gomez was set to run the bases today as the next test of his strained groin. … Cash said...
Published: 05/23/18
Rays morning after: Faria frustrated after latest letdown

Rays morning after: Faria frustrated after latest letdown

Whatever pain RHP Jake Faria was feeling as a result of the oblique muscle on the left side he strained throwing a fourth-inning slider to Boston's Hanley Ramirez couldn't compare to the hurt in his heart.Forced to leave Tuesday's game and likely hea...
Published: 05/23/18
Willy Adames homers, but Rays fall to Red Sox and suffer injuries

Willy Adames homers, but Rays fall to Red Sox and suffer injuries

ST. PETERSBURG — Top prospect Willy Adames is only going to get to stay with the Rays for a few days, so good for him for making the most of it with a home run in his first big-league game, and off Red Sox ace Chris Sale no less.But the good fe...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays loss to Red Sox

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays loss to Red Sox

Marc Topkin's takeaways from Rays 4-2 loss to Red Sox on Tuesday:* The Rays record against a Red Sox team they consider a measuring stick doesn't look very good at 3-8. But, as manager Kevin Cash and several players pointed out, there is some consola...
Published: 05/22/18