Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Rays

Rays come up short again against last-place Mariners

Jalen Beeks can’t hold a 4-2 lead, and the offense goes quiet again in another disappointing showing.
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jalen Beeks (68) looks on from the mound as Seattle Mariners Tom Murphy (2) rounds the bases on his two run homer during the sixth inning at Tropicana Field on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019 in St. Petersburg. [DIRK SHADD | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Aug. 21
Updated Aug. 21

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays are running out of options.

And at this rate they may run out of time to recover.

The accumulation of injuries and inconsistencies continues to add up and cost them.

Because starters Yonny Chirinos, Tyler Glasnow and Blake Snell are sidelined into September, and Brendan McKay pitched his way back to the minors, Jalen Beeks is still being used in a key role to work bulk innings as a starter or behind an opener. And because their bullpen is so heavily taxed, Beeks was still on the mound in the pivotal sixth inning Tuesday.

MORE RAYS: Brendan McKay may be back from Triple-A soon

Plus, with two key position players rehabbing at Triple-A and two others out of action, and few of those who are healthy doing much with their bats, the offense continues to sputter and stall at crucial moments.

The result?

Another disappointing outcome Tuesday, a second straight loss to the AL West trailing Mariners, this one 7-4.

That dropped the Rays to 73-54, making for four losses (and two walkoff wins) in their last six games and out of sole control of the second AL wild card, as they are now tied but percentage points behind the 72-53 A’s. A loss by top card holding Cleveland did keep the Rays 1½ behind.

And all before another tiny Trop gathering, the announced 7,455 ranking as the third smallest of the season.

“We’re not playing good baseball right now, that’s safe to say,'' Kevin Kiermaier said. "”We’ve dug ourselves in a small little hole here as of late. We can’t dwell on that. We just have to come to the field and figure out ways to be better individually, and that’s going to translate into team success.

"So, easier said than done. But we just haven’t been hitting, haven’t been fielding it great, and pitching, the last four-five games our guys have shown they’ve been human and the opposition has had some really nice at-bats and made things tough on us.''

After opener Diego Castillo gave up a two-run homer in the first, the Rays showed some promise, battling back to take a 4-2 lead in the fourth.

Singles by Willy Adames, Kevin Kiermaier and ex-Mariner Mike Zunino, and an Austin Meadows groundout, got them two in the second. Two innings later, singles by Eric Sogard and Adames and a Kiermaier double netted one run, and another Meadows ground out another.

But Beeks, who’d gotten off to a promising start in cruising through his first three innings, faltered again. He allowed the Mariners to score two, although unearned after a Matt Duffy error, to tie in the fifth, and two more to go ahead in the sixth, with a costly leadoff walk and a home run.

The Rays had been hoping, and that was about all they could do, for better, given Beeks’ 0-3, 8.41 mark over his previous five outings, and a hefty number of walks and long counts.

“Looked like he was throwing the ball with a little bit more conviction, willing to throw it over the plate, trust his stuff,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "Then a couple plays came up, a couple baserunners got on and things started to take a toll. Maybe he lost command, fell behind and they kind of came up and got some big hits. Maybe a slight step in the right direction for Jalen. We’ll see.''

Beeks, to his credit, knew he wasn’t good enough.

“Frustrating with the walks,'' he said. "Think I had three again today. That’s really unacceptable to me. It’s just kind of been the same thing over and over again. I’m going to keep battling. I’m going to keep putting in the work. Hopefully help this team get some wins down the stretch.”

There were some promising sign as Beeks worked effectively and somewhat efficiently through his first three innings in his fifrst time through the Seattle lineup, retiring nine of 10. He threw 16, 12 and 12 pitches, and went to one of those dreaded full counts only once.

But his fourth inning, which was the Mariners’ fifth, didn’t start well, as he quickly gave back that 4-2 lead.

Rays catcher Mike Zunino (10) tags out Seattle's J.P. Crawford (3) as he tries to score on a double by Austin Nola (23) in the fifth inning Tuesday at Tropicana Field. [DIRK SHADD | Tampa Bay Times]

Duffy’s error on a somewhat routine ground ball that he said he should have had, a single and a fielder’s choice groundout put runners on the corners. A wild pitch by Beeks scored one. A double by Aaron Nola another, and it took a well-executed relay from leftfielder Tommy Pham to Adames to Zunino at the plate to keep it 4-4.

But that didn’t last, as Beeks walked Kyle Seager on five pitches to start the sixth, then gave up a homer to Tom “Babe” Murphy, his third in the two games.

Overall, he was so-so. He worked five innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on four hits and three walks, striking out four, throwing 93 pitches, 59 for strikes. Reliever Hoby Milner, just called up from Triple-A, gave up the other run in the seventh.

And there wasn’t much help from the offense.

After scoring the two runs in the fourth, the Rays managed only one more hit. They went down nine straight in one stretch. They saw only eight pitches in the fifth. Their top five hitters were a combined 1-for-19. They were 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

"We just don’t have a whole lot of guys locked in right now, to be honest,'' Kiermaier said. "Most of us play better when we have that confidence going, kind of that swagger throughout the whole lineup. We feed off that and right now we just don’t have a whole lot of momentum going for us. It’s tough.''

Also, Duffy said, "When teams get into ruts offensively it kind of seems like a lot of guys try to do a little more than really needed. I think consistent quality at-bats is what makes us good as an offense when we’re clicking. It’s a pretty simple thing to say, it’s also probably the most difficult thing to do offensively is control your mind. And control the fact that you know runs have been at a premium for us lately, guys get on base, you want to do damage. So I think that’s natural as well.''

And – Seattle really is a truly great city – these are the Mariners, who came in with the reverse of the Rays record at 53-73, and have little to play for. Nor, theoretically, did the majors-worst Tigers, and the Rays needed two walkoff wins to avoid being swept by them.

"We know we’re playing teams, a Detroit team and a Seattle team, their record it’s probably not where they want it to be,'' Kiermaier said. "But it’s one of those things where we need to handle these guys a little bit better.''

You’d think, as these Rays have plenty to play for, most preciously the first trip back to the playoffs since 2013, when they were under different management. But with a 10-6 record thus far in a stretch of 21 games against teams with losing records, they sure haven’t looked like it enough.

For all kinds of reasons.

Contact Marc Topkin at mtopkin@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.


ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Most Valuable Ray? It could be All-Star Charlie Morton or All-Star Austin Meadows. MARC TOPKIN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Also up for discussion in Rays Tales: Most pleasant among many surprises and biggest of several disappointments.
  2. Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow throws to the Los Angeles Angels during a baseball game Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ  |  AP
    Rays have will Tyler Glasnow on the mound making his third start, the Red Sox are planning a bullpen day.
  3. Pete Alonso, left, celebrates his majors-leading 50th home run with Mets teammate Jeff McNeil, a two-run shot against the Reds on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. JOHN MINCHILLO  |  AP
    The rookie out of Plant High and Florida moves within two of the all-time rookie record.
  4. The results say Rays manager Kevin Cash was one batter too late when he removed Charlie Morton from the game on Friday night against the Red Sox. But that doesn't mean the decision was wrong. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Manager Kevin Cash rolled the dice by keeping Morton on the mound in the seventh inning against the Red Sox on Friday. The decision says a lot about a manager’s faith.
  5. The Rays' Nate Lowe grounds into a fielder's choice in the seventh, but his hustle down the line avoids the double play and opens the door for the Rays to take the lead later in the inning against the Red Sox on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Nate Lowe’s hustle pays off big; one batter too long for Morton; Cash’s sense of urgency continues.
  6. Willy Adames, center without cap, is swarmed by his Rays teammates moments after his walkoff single in the 11th inning beats the Red Sox 5-4 on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, at Tropicana Field. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Rays 5, Red Sox 4 (11): Willy Adames wins it with a walkoff single after the Rays blow a 4-2 lead in the ninth.
  7. Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow, center, is removed from the game with forearm tightness in the sixth inning against the Yankees on May 10, 2019, at the Trop. ALLIE GOULDING  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The right-hander gets his third start since coming off the injured list and is looking for a longer outing.
  8. The Rays take on the Red Sox in a crucial four game series.
  9. Tampa Bay Rays' Travis d'Arnaud hits against the Los Angeles Angels during a baseball game Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ  |  AP
    Travis d’Arnaud will be behind the plate, Charlie Morton on the mound as Rays start play tied for second wild-card.
  10. Charlie Morton starts tonight for the Rays against Boston's Rick Porcello. MARK J. TERRILL  |  AP
    Rays open final homestand tonight vs. Red Sox tied with Indians for second AL wild card with nine games left.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement