Rays’ offense struggles again against Angels

by Gary Shelton on May 24, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Souza strikes out with bases loaded./CARMEN MANDATO

Wednesday, 2 a.m.

Stop me if you've heard this one before.

The Rays' offense has gone dark, but late in the game, the team mounts a rally. The bases are loaded with one out. And the Rays strike out. And strike out again. And leave three runners stranded. And lose as they waste a solid pitching performance.

Sound familiar?

The Rays went “ditto” Tuesday night, leaving a victory stranded on base. This time, Tampa Bay lost 4-0 to the Los Angeles Angels.

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Cobb started slowly. but got no support./CARMON MANDATO

Cobb started slowly. but got no support./CARMON MANDATO

The Rays managed only three hits in the loss, a particularly frustrating outing.

“The bats have kind of gone quite the last two days,” said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. “This team can hit, and we will get out of this. I wouldn't be surprised if we really turn it on (Wednesday) night.”

The disturbing thing is that it's been three games — all losses — that have plagued the Rays. They've managed only 14 hits and

Beckham rounds second after a bunt single./CARMEN MANDATO

Beckham rounds second after a bunt single./CARMEN MANDATO

only four runs in their three defeats, which started as the team finally got on the right side of .500. It is now 23-25.

The Rays also had 10 more strikeouts, their 33rd game of the season with 10 or more strikeouts. Before the game, the Rays were on pace to strike out in double-digit numbers 110 times, which would set a major league record by 30 games.

Cash said it was “fair to say” that this kind of hitless attack was a by-product of a big-home run, big strikeout offense.

“We're going to have some quiet nights,” Cash said. “We're going

Morrison doubled, but was left stranded on third./CARMEN MANDATO

Morrison doubled, but was left stranded on third./CARMEN MANDATO

to run into some pitchers who are going to cause some issues and blank us. We have to find a way to limit those. This lineup can hit. They've proven that in the first two months. I don't think you can change your thought process after two quiet games.”

The Rays best shot at getting back into the game came in the seventh inning. With one out, Logan Morrison doubled to right. Tim Beckham walked, and Colby Rasmus hit a towering shot off the right field fence. However, Morris was unable to score, leaving the bases loaded.

Dickerson had a rare hitless night, going 0-4 with two strikeouts./CARMEN MANDATO

Dickerson had a rare hitless night, going 0-4 with two strikeouts./CARMEN MANDATO

Reliever Yusmeiro Petit came on and struck out both Steven Souza and Derek Norris to end the threat.

“I've got to do a better job with runners on third base with nobody out (one out),” Souza said. “Anytime you have less than two out and a man on third, you have to get him in. I'm the head of that right now. We've got to figure out a way to get the job done.”

Souza said he, too, believes in the offense. “A couple of weeks ago, we were scoring runs, right? We were among the league leaders. I don't think two games is going to worry us.”

Alex Cobb gave up two home runs (Cameron Maybin and Mike Trout), then held the Angels scoreless until giving up two more in the eighth.

“It's no fun,” Cobb said of giving up two quick homers. “Fastballs in the middle of the plate. I don't have the stuff (after Tommy John surgery) to do that right now.”

The Rays play Game Three tonight with Erasmo Ramirez pitching against Ricky Nolasco.

Rasmus is on first after just missing a home run./CARMEN MANDATO

Rasmus is on first after just missing a home run./CARMEN MANDATO

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