Rays leave a series on base against Giants

by Gary Shelton on June 20, 2016 · 2 comments

in general

Longoria fields a grounder but can't throw  out Brandon Belt./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Longoria fields a grounder but can't throw out Brandon Belt./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Monday, 6 a.m.

First base? No problem.

The Tampa Bay Rays can get to first. They can leave cleat marks all over it. They can leave notes for the next Rays' runner. “Go to second,” they might say?

Second base? The Rays can get to second, too.

Heck, second base is the Atlanta airport. The Rays find out they wind up here a lot, even if they're on their way to somewhere else.

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Logan Forsythe rounds second and heads for third./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Logan Forsythe rounds second and heads for third./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Third base? Sure. The Rays like visiting third base. It's distant and it's exotic. Like of like the Bahamas.

But home plate? No, the Rays don't make it to home plate very often.

It's funny. During a baseball game, the Rays are like Christmas shoppers on the basepaths. They keep getting on base, and they keep getting stranded there. You can recognize the Rays; they're the guys standing on the bags, scratching their heads and trying to figure out how to get back home.

Ponce de Leon had a similar problem.

The Rays left their series against the San Francisco Giants on base this

Brad Miller is ready at short for the Tampa Bay Rays./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Brad Miller is ready at short for the Tampa Bay Rays./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

weekend. They were 0-for-11 on Sunday, 0-for-20 through the weekend and four-for-49 over the last 49 games. Baseball isn't supposed to be that hard. But the Rays, whose offense continues to fade in and out because of the team's reliance on the long ball, make it that way.

“That was a series of us just not getting it done whatsoever,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash. “The big hit obviously eluded us. We had baserunners all over the place in the first two innings and to come out of that with one run—especially in the first—we’ve got to be able to capitalize on that, and we did not. A lot of people say you’ve got to win the ballgame at certain points; to me, that was a huge deciding factor that we didn’t tack on more runs when we had the opportunity to do that.”

Forget the final scores. The Rays were tied in the ninth on Saturday and gave up three. They were tied in the eighth on Sunday and gave up four. Both times, it felt as if the Rays were just hanging on, waiting for a big hit from … somewhere.

“We were in both those games, we just didn’t have a timely hit,” said Steve Pearce. “We didn’t get worked the whole series, we were in both the games. … San Francisco’s a good team, but we’ve got to find ways to get the job done.”

For a lot of the season, the bullpen has been victimized. Lately, it has been the starting pitching.

Take Sunday, for instance. Jake Odorizzi did a fine job as a starter, giving up only four hits and one earned run. That got him a tie. The Rays left eight runners on in the first three innings.

“It was good to be out there with all my stuff. I threw my cutter today. I broke that back out and just from an overall sense it felt normal … as opposed to fighting myself. … I felt I made a good bit of strides today and felt good from start to finish. It’s a good outing to build on and hopefully keep going as long as I can.”

Odorizzi wouldn't blame the hitters.

“It’s going to happen. I just wanted to limit the damage,” Odorizzi said. “I knew Peavy was throwing really well, and one run was tough. I just wanted to hold them at one run as long as I could. I was fortunate to get out of that one jam, fourth or fifth inning. ... It turned out to be big. We hung around late, just didn’t close. That’s gonna happen from time to time.”

The Rays still haven't won a homestand this year in six tries. It's hard to imagine the Rays getting back into the race unless they do.

The Rays start a road trip today with Drew Smyly on the mound against Josh Tomlin in Cleveland.

Jake Odorizzi threw well, but the Rays lost in the late innings./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Jake Odorizzi threw well, but the Rays lost in the late innings./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Howard Powders June 20, 2016 at 4:51 pm

It’s like Keith Hernandez trying to get in good with Elaine from Seinfeld:

Says Elaine:

“Home plate? You’ll never get there.”

Reply

Bill Myers June 20, 2016 at 10:09 am

Are we ready for some football??

Reply

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