ST. PETERSBURG – You would like to believe this is rock bottom.After all, it’s not often a team manages to lose three games, make countless blunders on defense and fall from first to third in the wild-card standings in barely 30 hours.And yet, the way the Rays are playing, this could get much worse.Coming off a lackluster doubleheader sweep in New York, and facing a team that had not won since the All-Star break, the Rays were throttled 9-2 by the White Sox in front of an announced crowd of 16,971 at Tropicana Field on Friday night.And that’s just the bare facts.The details are even worse.A team built with defense in mind has looked atrocious the past two days, dropping and misreading pop flies, failing to cover first base and generally looking like a beer league softball team.The offense has been mostly woeful with runners in scoring position, and seems to get worse the later a game goes.Worst of all, Tampa Bay’s starting pitchers have only lasted a 14 combined innings in the last three games and have given up 14 runs on 23 hits and six walks.The way this team is built, when the starting pitching struggles, there’s usually no coming back.“We’re going to be okay. We’ve got a lot of talent in that room. We’re going to be just fine,’’ Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “I know we got beat up in New York and today we didn’t play our best, but bet on these guys turning it around real quick.’’Obviously, it’s too early to panic. Friday night was Tampa Bay’s 100th game of the season, which means the Rays have 62 games remaining to straighten themselves out.“You go through ups and downs during the season. You try to eliminate the bad as much as you can but, yes, everything seems to have gone wrong the last few days,’’ said catcher Travis d’Arnaud. “We’ve still got two months of baseball ahead of us, we’ll be fine. All we need to do is try to win each series. That’s what this game is all about is going from series to series.’’But the reality is Tampa Bay was a very good team for the season’s first two months, and has been very mediocre the next two months.And as the losses begin to pile up, the blame begins to spread.It once looked like the bullpen was the only thing standing between the Rays and a potential postseason run. But without Tyler Glasnow in the starting rotation, and with a lineup that hasn’t been consistent let alone intimidating, the Rays are looking more and more vulnerable.Rookie Brendan McKay was the latest to stumble. After a string of impressive starts to begin his big-league career, McKay was not as sharp against the White Sox on Friday.Two innings into the game, McKay had given up more runs than he had in his previous three starts combined. Although, to be fair, you could make an argument that the first four runs he yielded could have been avoided with tighter defense.Austin Meadows had one ball go over his head and two bloops fall in front of him in rightfield, Mike Brosseau had an error on a hot shot at second base and Adam Engel beat out a slow grounder to shortstop Joey Wendle.“It was tough to see,’’ Meadows said. “I couldn’t pick up or see that fly ball to right, that shallow one, but it is what it is."Even with all of that ugliness, the Rays were only down 4-2 when McKay failed to make it through the fourth inning. A leadoff homer by Yolmer Sanchez followed by Leury Garcia’s third double of the game and an RBI single by Yoan Moncada were enough to chase McKay. John Romano can be reached at email@example.com . Follow @romano_tbtimes.