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 shut down by fill-in starter in 2-0 loss to Texas Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas — After another frustrating loss due to a lack of offense, this time 2-0 to Texas on Tuesday, manager Joe Maddon challenged his Rays to dig deeper and find a way, even to "will" themselves, to win well-pitched games before time runs out on their faint playoff hopes.

"Too many of these games, too many 1-0, 2-0 losses," Maddon said. "We've got to get beyond that. There are no excuses. We've got to figure out a way to score runs against some of these guys. …

"It's just one of those things. You've got to find something. You've got to find another gear and just pull it out somehow. You've almost got to will getting hits. It's almost beyond any kind of physical mechanics. You've just got to beat the other guy.

"Like when you played Little League, you just wanted to beat the other guy; it was never about mechanics. We just have to somehow find something within our reserve tanks and figure out a way to get these guys. Because we're playing way too well."

Tuesday was just the latest example, when their pitching and defense delivered and their offense did not, shut down not so much by a good pitcher but by a pitcher, Scott Feldman, who had a good game, as they had three hits total. It was the 13th time — 12th in the past 80 games — they've been shut out, second most in the American League, and the 30th time they've lost by two or fewer runs.

The loss, their second straight, dropped them to 73-61 and to 8½ behind wild card-leading New York, and illuminated the difficulty of their challenge as they have 28 games left and 19 are against the Yankees, Rangers and Red Sox.

"Time's running out because of these kind of losses," Maddon said. "We've got to figure out a way to win these games."

Jeremy Hellickson, pitching like the American League rookie of the year candidate the Rays are touting, shut out the power Rangers for five innings. But then he quickly gave up two runs in a four-hit barrage to open the sixth, starting with one-time Tampa Bay prospect Josh Hamilton's massive home run, estimated at 449 feet, into the second deck beyond rightfield.

"That would have done Robert Redford proud," Maddon said.

Hellickson said he didn't tire as much in the Texas heat — first pitch temperature was 102 — but lost command of his fastball. "I missed my spot a few times," Hellickson said.

And the pitch to Hamilton, apparently by a lot. "Right down the middle," Hellickson said. "Right where he likes it."

For the most part, Hellickson did his job, working out of two bases-loaded situations with no further damage and allowing six hits and four walks (two intentional) in six innings. "I thought I pitched well enough," he said.

But it was a familiar outcome, the 10th time in 24 starts — and ninth of his 10 losses — in which the Rays scored one or no runs.

The Rays did what they could to battle the heat, with an abbreviated pregame workout; ample drinks, Gatorade bars, ammonia-soaked towels on the bench; even arrangements for IV fluids if needed.

But the cold bats did them in, again. They had only three singles against Feldman and four relievers and, counting an odd fielder's choice in the third, six baserunners, with two caught stealing.

"I think we all want to win, and we do what it takes to," Johnny Damon said. "It's a game of inches."

Marc Topkin can be reached at

Rangers 2

Rays 0

Tampa Bay Rays shut down by fill-in starter in 2-0 loss to Texas Rangers 08/31/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 10:29am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. DeSean Jackson's 'Ferrari engine' brings him to first Bucs camp


    TAMPA — When the Bucs signed Pro Bowl WR DeSean Jackson, in the offseason, QB Jameis Winston said his new target was "a Bentley with a Ferrari engine," a nod to Jackson's 5-foot-10 frame but elite speed.

     Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson sits for an interview while on camera with NFL Films.   HBO's NFL Films production of "Hard Knocks" documented a day in the life of Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson with his family at their home in Tampa on Wednesday, July 26, 2017.
  2. What you should know about new Rays slugger Lucas Duda


    The MLB trade deadline is a few days away, but the Rays aren't procrastinating. Earlier today, they swung a deal for the Mets' Lucas Duda, sending minor league right-hander Drew Smith

    Slugger Lucas Duda will add some (more) power to the Rays lineup.
  3. Rays add a bat, too, acquiring Lucas Duda from Mets


    The Rays made another big move today, acquiring 1B/DH Lucas Duda from the Mets.

    Duda, 31, is a lefty slugger who will take over as the Rays primary DH against right-handers, with Corey Dickerson now playing most of the time in the outfield.

    To get Duda, the Rays gave up minor-league RHP Drew Smith, …

    The Rays acquired 1B/DH Lucas Duda from the Mets.
  4. Bucs do their best to stiff-arm the expectations


    TAMPA — If you want to see a team giving the Heisman trophy stiff-arm to expectations, check out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    As always, the key to the Bucs success will be Jameis Winston. He still is only 23, but a charismatic leader that this team and this town believes deeply in. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. A trip down memory lane of Bucs' preseason expectations


    With HBO's Hard Knocks in town and the Bucs opening training camp Friday with their highest expectations in a decade, here's a look back at Tampa Bay's preseason expectations since their last playoff appearance in 2007 — and the results.


    Jameis Winston and running back Peyton Barber celebrate a touchdown last season against the 49ers. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]