Rays drop yet another one-run game to BoSox

by Gary Shelton on April 2, 2018 · 0 comments

in general

Brad Miller is congratulated after his second-inning homer./CARMEN MANDATO

Brad Miller is congratulated after his second-inning homer./CARMEN MANDATO

Miller gave the Rays their early lead./CARMEN MANDATO

Miller gave the Rays their early lead./CARMEN MANDATO

Monday, 4 a.m.

Once again, they pitched well. Once again, they stayed close. Once again, they weren't good enough.

The light-hitting Tampa Bay Rays lost their third straight one-run game Sunday, falling 2-1 to the Boston Red Sox. The Rays have scored just three runs in their last three games.

The Rays are used to losing close. Last year, they were 21-24 in one-run games, fifth worst in the majors. The year before, they were 13-27, worst in the majors. Counting this year, the Rays are 34-54 since the start of the 2016 season.

This time, Boston won without pointing a Cy Young winner at them. Hector Velazquez, however, was good enough, allowing only a second-inning home run to Brad Miller.

Wendle makes a diving stop for Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Wendle makes a diving stop for Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

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Faria lasted only four innings for the Rays./CRMON MANDATO

Faria lasted only four innings for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Coming into the season, the Rays figured their pitching would be good, and it has been. They thought their defense would be crisp, and it has been. But the lack of hitting has been even more pronounced than the team admitted. The team has had 35 innings at the plate, and it has been held scoreless in 31 of them. The Rays have had a lead in only five innings.

“Quiet bats," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "We talked about it yesterday. We are going to get going here eventually. Give Hector Velázquez some credit for keeping us off balance. He had a pretty good fastball. I know he has pitched at 90-92, but he got us to expand the zone up quite a bit. The pitching is keeping us in the ballgame. Not to nitpick, but we did allow seven free passes, anyway you look at it with four walks and three hit-by-pitch. Give the guys a lot of credit for keeping us in the game and the defense behind them.”

The Rays had eight hits, but again struggled when  runners were close. The Rays were 0-5 with runners in scoring position.

Duffy singled to ceter in the third inning./CARMEN MANDATO

Duffy singled to center in the third inning./CARMEN MANDATO

“We faced really good pitching (this series)," Cash said. " Velázquez is a guy who we weren’t that familiar with, other than a couple innings in spring training. He threw the ball well. Other than that, we have guys who have a track record of hitting and they are going to get going.”

Jake Faria lasted only four innings for the Rays. He said he was frustrated by his outing.

“Not being able to put some guys away," Faria said. "There were a lot of guys who I was able to get ahead of 0-1, 0-2 real quick and not able to put them away. They were able to foul off a lot of pitches. Trying to be too fine and out

Alvarado took the loss for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Alvarado took the loss for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

of the zone on those counts. Have to be in the zone and let the hitters put the ball in play.”

Yonny Chirinos threw four shutout innings for the Rays.

“I knew eventually sometime this series that I would come in and pitch," Chirinos said. "I was eager, but I am glad the opportunity came when it did.”

Despite the slow start, the Rays' pitchers have been good. Through four games, they have a 2.25 ERA. Their 10 runs allowed are their fewest in club history through four games. It is only the second time in club history the

Chirinos made his major league debut./CARMEN MANDATO

Chirinos made his major league debut./CARMEN MANDATO

Rays have lost three straight when yielding three runs or fewer.

What led Cash to trust a 1-1 game to Chirinos with his first game.

“Probably me being a moron," joked Cash. "He threw the ball really really well. I was happy for him. We knew coming into the season with (Yarbrough), Chirinos, those guys, eventually they are going to have to pitch in those situations. You don’t draw it up to where that’s their debut, but that’s the mercy of the style of games that we’ve played over the last four days. I thought Yonny did a really nice job of controlling his emotions. Proud of him, happy for him. I hope his family got to watch it or follow him on the internet.”

The Rays now travel to New York for two games (scheduled for Monday and Wednesday, even though the weather may affect that). For the Rays, Austin Pruitt starts on a bullpen day against Jordan Montgomery.

Ramos tags Holt out at the plate./CARMEN MANDATO

Ramos tags Holt out at the plate./CARMEN MANDATO

 

 

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