Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays go cold against White Sox

CHICAGO — By the time Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson figured out how to stop leaving his pitches up Thursday night, the Rays were too far down to do anything about it.

The result was a 5-2 loss to the White Sox, quickly erasing any momentum from their encouraging 5-1 homestand and getting another extended road trip off to a bad start.

"I couldn't shut them down after we put up a run and put us in a hole early," Hellickson said. "Can't do that."

Hellickson's rough start — he allowed three runs in the first inning — was only part of the problem for the Rays, who dropped to 10-12 and back to five games behind the AL East-leading Red Sox. The other was White Sox starter Chris Sale, the Lakeland native/Florida Gulf Coast product, who pretty much had his way with them over seven innings, allowing two runs but only four hits, walking four and striking out seven.

"Their pitcher is going to make a lot of teams look sluggish; he's really good," manager Joe Maddon said. "But it wasn't one of our better games, I agree with that. But I think a lot of it had to with him."

"That guy's just nasty, man," Rays outfielder Kelly Johnson said. "He can do everything."

Hellickson was coming off a solid outing against Oakland, and the Iowa native warmed up well, an accomplishment in itself on a cold Chicago night that was 52 degrees at first pitch and in the 40s much of the night.

He gave up a double to leadoff man Alejandro De Aza, then another to former Ray Jeff Keppinger, erasing the 1-0 lead he had been handed. He then walked Alex Rios, and after getting an out, gave up an RBI single — Keppinger made a nifty tag-avoiding slide — and a sac fly, quickly making it 3-1 White Sox.

The common theme was pitches Hellickson left up in the zone. "It was just a few pitches, but all of them got hit," said Hellickson, who is 1-2 with a 4.31 ERA. "I've just got to be better."

The poor starts are becoming a bit problematic as eight of the 15 runs Hellickson has allowed have been in first innings, giving him a 14.40 ERA compared to 2.39 after. Not that it's anything he can simply change.

"Once I'm out there, I have no idea; now that you've said it, it is kind of frustrating," he said. "I feel good. I've just got to make better pitches."

The Rays got back into the game in an unlikely way, a home run by catcher Jose Lobaton, his first of this season and the third of his career, part of a night in which he reached base three times. After the homer, he first got the silent treatment in the dugout and then an ice cream treat.

Hellickson found what he was missing and sailed through the next couple of innings, then he got bailed out of a mess when leftfielder Johnson teamed with third baseman Evan Longoria and Lobaton to cut down Conor Gillaspie at the plate in the fourth.

But Hellickson opened the sixth with a five-pitch walk to Rios, then left an 0-and-1 fastball right over the plate that Adam Dunn, despite a 2-for-48 skid and .097 average at the time, clubbed for a two-run homer.

"Pretty stupid pitch to Dunn right there," Hellickson said.

Pretty much ended their chances, too.

   
Comments
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 3

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 3

The Rays have been doing a lot of talking about big deals but making only small ones thus far at the winter meetings.Though willing to at least consider trading any of the bigger-name, higher-paid players on their roster, the Rays have only added two...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Is Alex Colome telling us something about Rays’ plans with his Instagram account?

Is Alex Colome telling us something about Rays’ plans with his Instagram account?

UPDATE, 9:22: So, Colome says he was just using good social media manners, tweeting (at 4:15) this morning:"I keep getting nice messages and tags from those accounts, so I gave them a follow"And, keeping his emoji game strong, adding one with arms up...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rick and Tom podcast: Should the Rays go full fire-sale mode?

Rick and Tom podcast: Should the Rays go full fire-sale mode?

As baseball’s hot stove starts heating up, should the Rays go full fire sale to build for the future?In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss whether the Rays should trade guys like Evan Longoria, Chris Archer, Alex Colome and more,...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Canseco’s tweets about sexual misconduct could jeopardize job on A’s telecasts

Canseco’s tweets about sexual misconduct could jeopardize job on A’s telecasts

LAKE BUENA VISTA — A series of tweets by former Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Oakland Athletics slugger Jose Canseco about sexual misconduct and politicians could put in jeopardy his job as a studio analyst on A’s telecasts. Canseco posted several times ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 2 – with some news

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 2 – with some news

UPDATE, 8:45: Tommy Hunter parlayed his solid 2017 season with the Rays into a two-year deal with the Phillies.UPDATE, 7:13: Unexpected sighting in the meetings lobby: Luke Scott, who looked in great shape at 39 and is at least talking about playing ...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Winter meetings journal: Rays add more infield depth, claim it isn’t prelude to a trade

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays on Tuesday adding their third infielder in the past two weeks would sure look like a precursor to trading front-liners such as 3B Evan Longoria or 2B Brad Miller.But GM Erik Neander insisted that was not the case and that ...
Published: 12/12/17
GMs-turned-pundits believe now may be the time for Rays to sell

GMs-turned-pundits believe now may be the time for Rays to sell

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays have been doing a lot of talking, making another small deal Tuesday while still working toward bigger ones of a still-being-determined degree.And there have been a lot of baseball people at the winter meetings talking abou...
Published: 12/12/17
Tampa Bay Rays make another small deal, acquiring INF Ryan Schimpf

Tampa Bay Rays make another small deal, acquiring INF Ryan Schimpf

The Rays made another small move to add infield depth on Tuesday, acquiring Ryan Schimpf from the Padres for minor league infielder Deion Tansel.Schimpf, 29, has played parts of the last two seasons in the majors, posting just a .195 average but with...
Published: 12/12/17
Could the Yankees’ new Death Star prompt a Rays surrender?

Could the Yankees’ new Death Star prompt a Rays surrender?

I have a theory that Major League Baseball is always way more interesting when the New York Yankees are good.Well, the Yankees got way better in the past few days.But baseball didn’t get more interesting. It got way worse.And it could get worse in Ta...
Published: 12/12/17
MLB ump Dale Scott retires rather than risk more concussions

MLB ump Dale Scott retires rather than risk more concussions

LAKE BUENA VISTA — As a big league umpire, Dale Scott saw maybe 1 million pitches from the field. His final call, it turned out, was the easiest of all. Rather than risk yet another concussion, Scott has decided to retire at 58. "I’m done," he told T...
Published: 12/12/17