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 on verge of elimination after 6-0 loss to Texas Rangers in Game 2 of AL division series

ST. PETERSBURG — About the only thing the Rays have gotten in the first two games of the AL division series is frustrated.

They haven't gotten any big hits, they haven't gotten any key breaks and they haven't gotten any wins, Thursday's 6-0 loss to the Rangers leaving them trailing two-to-none in the best-of-five series with both momentum and history against them when they resume play Saturday in Arlington.

"Yeah, it's definitely frustrating," pitcher James Shields said. "There's no doubt about it. We worked hard all year long, and now we're down 0-2. So it's definitely frustrating."

It's been obvious in their faces, in their words and in their actions, especially after a fifth-inning sequence that started with what they considered another bad call led to a three-run momentum-building homer by Texas' Michael Young and was capped by manager Joe Maddon's ejection after his latest sermon on the mound.

"I would say it's building," third baseman Evan Longoria said. "And I don't want the breaking point to be us going home."

To avoid that, they are going to have to do what only one team in major-league history, the 2001 Yankees, has done: win a five-game series after losing the first two at home.

The lack of offense — even by their low standards — has been startling, as they've managed just one run and eight hits in 18 innings (a .125 average) while striking out 23 times (11 looking). And even worse when it matters most, a 1-for-13 mark with runners in scoring position, with nine strikeouts.

But at least that, in theory, they can do something about.

"We've got to do obviously something different offensively," Longoria said. "Change our approach, get a hit, something's got to change."

But their concern over an accumulation of bad breaks and questionable calls — such as the foul ball call on Carlos Peña in Game 1 — seems to be growing and, however justified, may be becoming part of their problem.

"We're getting on the umpires too much," reliever Grant Balfour said. "Yeah, he made a bad call. But what else did we do? We didn't do anything ourselves. Okay, maybe (Young) was out. Then what else? We didn't score any runs."

The call they were most concerned about Thursday certainly came at an inopportune moment.

With the Rangers up 2-0 and threatening with two on and one out in the fifth, Maddon pulled starter James Shields and brought in Chad Qualls to face Young.

Qualls got the count to 2-and-2 and threw a slider that appeared to the Rays and most of the Tropicana Field sellout crowd of 35,535 — and even to Young, he admitted later — to have him struck out. Not to first-base umpire Jerry Meals, who on appeal ruled that Young checked his swing.

The Rays were still screaming from the dugout — and the crowd chanting "Replay! Replay!" — about that call when Young gave them something much more damaging to be mad about, crushing Qualls' next pitch for a three-run homer that pretty much ended their chances by expanding the deficit to 5-0.

"Sometimes breaks go your way and sometimes they don't," Longoria said. "The one today was a little bit tougher to swallow because of the three-run homer that followed. A two-run ball game in this ballpark at home is a lot different ball game than 5-0 or 6-0."

The check-swing appeal is a judgment call, and umpire crew chief Tim Welke said Meals used his. "He felt it was close, but he felt he didn't go," Welke said. "It's either a swing or not a swing, and his judgment is he didn't swing."

Qualls said he couldn't tell from the straight-on view (though he thought it was a strike when he watched the replay), but other Rays felt Young definitely swung.

"Obviously you saw my reaction," catcher Kelly Shoppach said. "I clearly thought he went."

And they didn't feel any better to hear Young pretty much agree.

"If he would've rung me up, I wouldn't have said anything," Young said.

Maddon had plenty to say, employing one of his new tricks of going to the mound to skirt the rule prohibiting arguing ball-and-strike calls, then doing precisely that from there.

"It's really hard to yell from the dugout — nobody can hear you," he said. "So I had to go out to the mound and make my point."

The umpires gave him some leeway, then decided enough was enough. Maddon stirred the crowd, but his team not so much. The Rays basically had one chance, opening the seventh with men on second and third.

"The breaks right now are obviously going their way," Shoppach said. "But we've got to seize our opportunities."

To this point, that has been easier said than done.

Marc Topkin can be reached at

O? No!

The Rays offense in the first two games of the ALDS:

Game 1Game 2Total



Avg. .176.067.125
(6-34) (2-30)(8-64)

K's1310 23




* Strikeouts swinging/looking

Tampa Bay Rays on verge of elimination after 6-0 loss to Texas Rangers in Game 2 of AL division series 10/07/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 8, 2010 9:09am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays looking to get even with Angels, with no TV


    The Rays are looking for a split in the four-game series with the Angels in today's 1:10 matinee, a game that is not on TV in the Tampa Bay market.

    RHP Matt Andriese will start for the Rays, seeking to go deeper than his last start, when he was ejected after hitting New York's Aaron Judge with his first pitch …

  2. It's official: Bucs, Jaguars set joint practices for August


    It's been reported for some time, but the Bucs announced Thursday that they'll hold two joint practices with the Jaguars in Jacksonville on Aug. 14-15.

    Bucs running back Charles Sims runs against the Jaguars in a preseason game last year. The two teams had joint practice last year and will again in August.
  3. Florida Gators to host South Alabama in 2020


    The Florida Gators will host South Alabama in 2020, UF announced Thursday morning.

  4. Bishop McLaughlin defies expectations in getting back to state


    SHADY HILLS — For the second time in three seasons, Bishop McLaughlin is one of the four best teams in Class 3A, but this Hurricane team couldn't be more different than its predecessor.

    Pitcher Dominic Diaz warms up his arm in practice at Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School in Spring Hill, Florida on Monday, May 22, 2017.
  5. Bucs to add linebacker from Germany for 2017 practice squad


    The Bucs will be part of a new NFL program this fall that will grant an 11th practice squad slot to an overseas player, with German-born Eric Nzeocha, a linebacker who played at the University of Wyoming, slated to join Tampa Bay's roster for the 2017 season.

    Wyoming linebacker Eric Nzeocha, 24, will be an 11th member of the Bucs' practice squad in 2017 as part of a program to bring more international players to the NFL. He was born in Germany but played in college at Wyoming.