Diaz fouls a ball off the inside of his left foot./CHUCK MULLER

Tuesday, 3 a.m.

Did they fool you? Did you think they were for real? Did you think they could contend?

Back during those hot days of April, did you think the Tampa Bay Rays had the ability to last? Did you think they could hold off the Red Sox? Did you think they could play with the big spenders?

These days, it's hard to believe how good they were in those days, isn't it? The Rays, 14-4 through April 18, have come back to reality and, man, is it ugly. The Rays are just 43-40 over the last three months (and a couple of days), and after a 9-4 drubbing at the hands of the Red Sox, they lead Boston by just one game in a wild-card race where they have already been passed by Cleveland and Oakland.

The Rays suffered a seven-run third Monday, effectively ending this one early.  The Red Sox hit three home runs in four batters in the inning. Meanwhile, they managed just two hits through seven innings against Eduardo Rodriguez.

Diaz is helped from the field after his injury./CHUCK MULLER

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d'Arnaud flips his bat after hitting a grand slam./CHUCK MULLER

Monday, 3 a.m.

The Tampa Bay Rays are still struggling as they go along.

The Travis Bay Rays, however, are cooking.

d'Arnaud has been impressive for Rays./CHUCK MULLER

Travis d'Arnaud, a desperation pickup for the Rays earlier this summer, was performing heroics again Sunday. His second-inning grand slam was one of only three hits the Rays managed, but they were still able to capture a 4-2 win over the Chicago White Sox.

d'Arnaud has been among the most noticeable of Rays' hitters this month. He had a walk-off homer to beat Baltimore, and a three-homer game against the Yankees that included a three-run  game winner against Arodlis Chapman for a win. Then Sunday, he launched a 420-foot homer for his first career grand slam to help the Rays snap a five-game losing streak.

Adames and d'Arnaud celebrate a grand slam./CHUCK MULLER

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Pagan gave up the tying homer with two out in the ninth./CHUCK MULLER

Sunday, 3 a.m.

Perhaps their bats are superfluous. Perhaps they are just fashion for the photographers.

These days, the sticks of the Tampa Bay Rays are fairly useless otherwise.

The Rays lost once again Saturday, their fifth straight, in a 2-1, 11-inning loss to the Chicago White Sox. They are now 1-7 in extra inning games at Tropicana Field.

The Rays were one out away from 1-0 win, but Emilio Pagan blew his sixth save of the season when he gave up a home run to James McCann to tie the game. The White Sox won it in 11 when Yoan Moncada scored from first on a hit-and-run play that traveled slowly through the infield.

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McKay gave up nine hits by the time he got 10 outs./JEFFREY S. KING

Friday, 3 a.m.

Suddenly, the Tampa Bay Rays are relentless in their task. They are focused, and they are driven, and they are hurtling through the standings.

Alas, they are headed in the wrong direction.

Just like that, there is no stopping them ... or their fall. They are on their worst streak of the season, and suddenly, they seem to have little interest in a wild-card race they led a few days ago. They lost their fourth straight game Friday night, falling 9-2 to the Chicago White Sox in a game where they did very little right.

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Yankees continue dominance of Tampa Bay Rays

July 19, 2019 general

Friday, 3 a.m. They were bombed in the Bronx. For the fading Tampa Bay Rays, there is no other way to say it. The New York Yankees, once again, have flexed their muscles and disposed of the pesky Rays, this time sweeping a double header by scores of 6-2 and 5-1. In 17 games this […]

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Can Jones change minds in his second season?

July 18, 2019 general

Thursday, 4 a.m. I believe in Mike Evans. True, he’s going to drop some passes. True, he lacks the burner speed you’d like. True, some balls will bounce off of his hands for interceptions. But by and large, I believe in Evans. I think he’ll turn third downs in first downs. I believe he will […]

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New York’s late home runs knock out the Rays

July 17, 2019 general

Wednesday, 3 a.m. By now, it is well established that the bullpen of the Tampa Bay Rays is little more than a series of brushfires. All that changes is the guy holding the match. It happened again Tuesday night. The Rays were rolling along, playing in a tight game against the New York Yankees, and […]

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d’Arnaud has a night for the ages to lead Rays

July 16, 2019 general

Tuesday, 3 a.m. When nights like this happen, they happen at Yankee Stadium, the joint where, in its various incarnations, has led the big leagues in lore. And so a guy has the night of his life, jacking three home runs out of a stadium, including the game winner. Why, the Babe used to have […]

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Rays nearly perfect in victory over Baltimore

July 15, 2019 general

Monday, 3 a.m. You could call it splendid. You could call it terrific. You could call it dominating. You could almost call it perfect. The Tampa Bay Rays came within three outs of throwing baseball’s first-ever combined perfect game Sunday, beating the Orioles 4-1 on a day when Ryne Stanek and Ryan Yarbrough were magnificent. […]

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Rays show different personalities in split

July 14, 2019 general

Sunday, 4 a.m. Okay, you figure them out. Can they hit? Can their relievers pitch? Can they score? Well sometimes. The Tampa Bay Rays had a head-scratching day Saturday, splitting a doubleheader with the woeful Baltimore Orioles. They were pretty good (in game two), and they were pretty bad (in game one), and they left […]

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