Rays continue to stumble at Tropicana Field

by Gary Shelton on June 14, 2019 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Ohtani took over the Trop on Thursday./CHUCK MULLER

Friday, 4 a.m.

It was hard to blame Shohei Ohtani for treating Tropicana Field like home Thursday night.

After all, the Rays aren’t claiming it.

The Rays dropped their third straight game at Tropicana Field Thursday night,  5-3 to the Angels, lowering their season record to 18-17 at home. That’s in stark contrast to the team’s 23-10 record (the best in baseball) on the road. They are 1-6 in their last seven games at home and 11-15 in their last 26 games.

Ohtani hit for the cycle Thursday night to lead the Angels to their victory, including a three-run homer in the first. He added a double in the third, a triple in the fifth and a single in the seventh.

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Pham had two hits to get his average to .291./CHUCK MULLER

“He’s a challenge,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash. “I know he had a big day today. You’ve got to deal with the guy ahead of him first, though, in Mike Trout who’s as good as anybody I’ve ever seen.”

The Rays have to be better at home, Cash acknowledged.

Rays’ Yarborough gave up five eared runs./CHUCK MULLER

“We’ve got to do a better job at home,” Cash said. “Generally you want to create an environment where teams come in here — that this is a challenging place to find wins. We’ve had some strong series here and homestands, but they’ve been leveled off here a little bit lately. We’ve got to do a better job finding ways to win games at home.”

The Angels took a 5-0 lead before the Rays scored three times in the fifth. They didn’t mount much of a threat afterward, however.

“Offensively, we didn’t have much going,” Cash said. “It was nice to get those runs right there, but Ramirez came in and threw a solid three innings, two and two-thirds, and kept it tough.”

Garcia is hitting .300 for the Rays./CHUCK MULLER

Ryan Yarbrough gave up just four hits to the Angels in his last start; he gave up four to Ohtani Thursday night.

“He had a really good day today,” Yarbrough said. “He’s obviously a good hitter. Just couldn’t seem to get him out today. Got to take your hat off to him. He did a lot of damage on just those two pitches. It’s kind of tough when after you give up those fourth and fifth runs, that two-run homer, we come back and get the three. Definitely a little upset about that of all things. It was at least good to at least get some length after the blackout happened.”

Ohtani became the first Japanese player to hit for the cycle.

Diaz had a hit for the Rays./CHUCK MULLER

“I’m simply very happy that I was able to accomplish this,” Ohtani said through a translator. “There have been so many other great Japanese players that have come before me. Being the first one to accomplish it, I’m really happy and it’s going to lead to a lot of confidence down the road.”

The Rays play the Angels again  tonight at Tropicana Field. The game begins at 7:10 p.m. The Rays will start Blake Snell against Andrew Heany.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

WILLIAM MYERS June 14, 2019 at 8:44 am

And on the bright side… the Yankees are on a losing streak too. So the Rays are still only a half game back. But Boston is winning and is creeping up in the standings. The Rays are missing a huge opportunity to get ahead in the standings. The Rays have a trip to New York coming up soon!

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Gary Shelton June 14, 2019 at 11:25 am

That’ll be big, won’t it? Still, if the team can’t play better at home, it won’t win overall.

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