Friday, February 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Things go wrong for Rays' Wright

TORONTO — Having played longer than any other active player without getting to the postseason, 18-year veteran RHP Jamey Wright wants the Rays to make it to the wild-card game in the worst way.

And it was obvious he couldn't have felt worse about his poor performance in Saturday's costly 7-2 defeat.

"That's on me. That's my loss. That's my fault," Wright said. "I didn't help our cause today."

The score was 1-1 when Wright was summoned in the fourth, manager Joe Maddon's second call to the bullpen after a quick hook of rookie RHP Chris Archer. LHP Alex Torres had put two on, then Wright loaded the bases with a walk — his first since Sept. 1 — then allowed a two-run single to Adam Lind. It got worse in the fifth, when he allowed a leadoff single then a home run.

"I was terrible from pitch one. Bad day," Wright said. "I want to be out there. I feel great. I was completely ready when the phone rang. Typically I'm not in there in the fourth inning but I was ready to go. It was no surprise. I got up and got it going, but it was one of those days."

ARCHED UP: Manager Joe Maddon pulled Archer one out into the third because he was concerned the rookie was struggling and the game, tied at 1 at the time, might get away. "I didn't see a real comfortable moment there," Maddon said.

Archer, politely, said he didn't see it that way.

"Obviously this game is more than just what I think or even really what the scoreboard says, it's about what other people feel is going to happen," Archer said.

"I was surprised. I felt like I went deep into some counts early in the game and that got my pitch count up, but I didn't feel like my back was against the wall or anything. I did the best I could with the amount of time I was out there. I'm okay with it, with my outing. It (stinks) that we didn't win and I couldn't do more to help."

Archer allowed five hits and one run in his 2 1/3 innings, throwing 64 pitches, and felt he didn't do anything different despite the magnitude of the game.

"I didn't feel like I had to do anything more or anything less," he said. "Obviously there was … a little more rush to get somebody else in there, which is different from April, May or June or July or August, but I did what I could."

HAPP HAPPENS: The Rays took a lead when Ben Zobrist led off with a double and scored on Wil Myers' single, but they got only three more hits off Jays LHP J.A. Happ, who pitched solidly into the eighth.

PITCHING IN: Not that the Rays want to be in this position, but Maddon said they are confident with how their pitching has set up, with All-Star LHP Matt Moore on the mound today and LHP David Price lined up to pitch their next game, whether it's Monday in a tiebreaker or Wednesday in the wild-card playoff, and RHP Alex Cobb after him.

"We had it set up that way originally knowing all this stuff was possible so we feel good about it," Maddon said.

MISCELLANY: CF Desmond Jennings (hamstring strain) won't be ready to play in the field today, Maddon said. … If the Rays do end up in a two- or the major leagues' first three-team tiebreaker, those are considered regular-season games and the expanded rosters are still in play. … Closer Fernando Rodney has not pitched since last Sunday, though Maddon said he was fine, noting he warmed up Thursday. "We just haven't had the opportunity," he said.

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