Castillo’s 9th-inning meltdown dooms fading Rays

by Gary Shelton on June 21, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

Castillo blew a three-run lead in the ninth./TIM WIRT

Friday, 3 a.m.

It is a burning building. It is a mushroom cloud. It is a national disaster.

It is the bullpen of the Tampa Bay Rays.

And it is getting worse.

The fading Rays blew another one late Thursday night, somehow losing a 5-4 decision after taking a 4-1 lead in the top of the ninth. In the bottom of the ninth, Diego Castillo gave up two hits, two walks and four earned runs. He also had a wild pitch and the Rays committed an error.

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Morton allowed only one run to the A’s./CHUCK MULLER

Matt Chapman hit a three-run walkoff homer to hand the Rays their fourth straight defeat. The Rays have won just twice in their last 10 games.

It was just the fifth appearance of the month for Castillo, who has lost much of the momentum he had early in the season. The back end of the Rays is suddenly their weakest position. Castillo is 1-5 on the season.

“He’s got to throw it over the plate,” Rays’ manager Kevin Cash said of Castillo. “Big-league baseball, you’ve got to throw it over the plate. We all know he’s trying to. He’s trying to execute pitches. It just didn’t happen tonight.

“If there is anything that is telling about the game, it is that we got our runs (in the ninth) due to walks and they got their runs due to walks.”

The Rays offense had been sputtering after a weekend sweep by the Yankees, but they scored three runs in the top of the ninth to break a 1-1 tie. Singles by Avi Garcia and Ji-Man Choi drove in runs, and Willy Adames drove in another with a sacrifice.

Still, it wasn’t enough. The Rays fell to 4 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees.

The Rays will use an opener for today’s game to face Oakland’s Tanner Anderson. The game begins at 10:07 p.m.

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