How much further down can the Rays slide?

by Gary Shelton on August 20, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

Souza hit his first home run   off a left-hander this year./jEFFREY S. KING

Souza hit his first home run off a left-hander this year./jEFFREY S. KING

Sunday, 3 a.m.

Surely, they cannot catch the Chicago White Sox?

Can they?

At this point, they are certainly better than Detroit, better than Oakland.

Aren't they?

On the other hand, the way the Tampa Bay Rays are going, perhaps no cellar is safe. The Rays lost again Saturday, falling 7-6 to the Seattle Mariners. The loss lowered the Rays into a virtual tie for last place in the AL East.

In their recent slump — the Rays have lost 15 of their last 18 games — the

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Duda had a two-run homer for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Duda had a two-run homer for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Rays' usual pattern of defeat was to get good starting pitching but awful hitting. This time, it was the opposite. Tampa Bay scored six runs — and hit three homers.

But pitcher Jake Odorizzi lost his third straight, and for the second time this season, was ambushed early by the Mariners. Odorizzi lasted only 3 2/3 innings and gave up seven earned runs and eight hits.

“It’s one of those days where I just didn’t have it,” Odorizzi said. “My arm kind of felt

Odorizzi  lasted only 11 outs for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Odorizzi lasted only 11 outs for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

dead. My body felt fine, but nothing coming out of it today. No life on the fastball, no feel for a release point. It’s just one of those days where nothing was there and there’s no more to say than it’s just one of those days. That’s that.”

Rays' manager Kevin Cash, looking for positives, praised the Rays' hitters. Tampa Bay fell behind 7-2, but came back to lose only by a run.

“The bats finally came alive,” Cash said. "To me, that’s the story of the game. We lost, and it stinks, but we needed to see some type of production, some type of positive performance from the offense and I think we provided that and went right to the very last out. Things to like. LoMo, big hit for him. I know he wasn’t feeling too well. He comes up and gets a huge hit there to put us within one. I like earlier in the game. We get 1, they go up 4 on the grand slam and we come right back and get another one. I like the way we went about it tonight. We just came up short. The bullpen came in and did their thing like they’ve been doing and gave us every opportunity to hold it right there, but their combination of their relievers between Rzepczynski, Vincent and Díaz made it pretty difficult.”
For once, the Rays' starting pitching didn't hold up.

“We’ve praised the starting pitching -- for good reason,” Cash said. “They have done

Morrison hit his 29th homer after a slump./CARMEN MANDATO

Morrison hit his 29th homer after a slump./CARMEN MANDATO

their part. Tonight we hit a speed bump, but we will bounce back and overcome it. I think the most important part is the offense put together an inning, put together some good at-bats and ultimately, some runs on the board.

“He (Odorizzi) didn't have it. There's no way around it. I don't think he had a feel for anything that was coming out of his hand. The fastball, cutter, slider. He was up (in the zone) more than usual. He had some uncharacteristic walks. It was definitely a struggle for him.”

Odorizzi has given up home runs in every start but two this season, but this time, he gave up a grand slam to Mitch Hanigar.

After Odorizzi was knocked out, five Rays relievers pitched shutout innings for the Rays.

The Rays came back with homers from Steven Souza Jr. (the first of his 26 to come off a left-handed hitter), Lucas Duda and Logan Morrison (his 29th after a 14-game homer-less streak).

"I think we've just got to fight," Souza said. "Ultimately, tomorrow comes and we got to keep fighting. I think we can't look too far ahead. The way we didn't give up, it was huge tonight. We got to keep going with that."

The Rays have one more shot at the Mariners today. They're 0-5 against Seattle this season. Today, Bake Snell pitches against Yovani Gallardo in a 1:10 p.m. game at the Trop.

Kiermaier had two hits in  his second game back./CARMEN MANDATO

Kiermaier had two hits in his second game back./CARMEN MANDATO

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