Once again, the Rays collapse in the late innings

by Gary Shelton on July 5, 2019 · 4 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Drake’s walks led tp the Rays’ defeat./TIM WIRT

Friday, 3 a.m.

Another day, another implosion.

And afterward, there were tiny bits of the Rays’ playoff chances spread all over Tropicana Field.

Once again Thursday night, the Rays found themselves in a tie game late. And once again, the bullpen collapsed. After giving up six late runs to the Orioles a night before, it gave up five late to the Yankees in an 8-4 defeat. The loss dropped the Rays to 7 1/2 games back.

The Rays rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game, but afterward, they gave themelves little chance. Oliver Drake walked the first two batters of the 10th on full-count pitches, and Brett Gardner laid down a bunt

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Meadows had two hits for the Rays./STEVEN MUNCIE

that the Rays completely botched. D.J. Lemahieu hit a soft single through the drawn-in infield for two runs, and Gary Sanchez launched his 24th home run.

The Yankees have now won eight of the 10 meetings against the Rays, including five in a row.

“It was a little too late,” manager Kevin Cash said about the offense. “(J.A.) Happ is tough. I thought we had opportunities to have some better at-bats, we just came up short. The offense has been scuffling here as of late. Our best work has come late, late in the ballgame and that generally is not ideal for winning.”

Cash said a familiar foe — the walk — did them in.

“Walks. Leadoff walk, walk, walk,” Cash said. “Then the rest comes. We misplayed a bunt. We should know by now that those walks come back and they get us. They certainly did again today. That offense over there, that lineup, that team is too good to give them opportunities. They’re going to make the most of it when they’re given to them and they did.”

The Yankees took full advantage of the Rays’ shortcomings in the 10th.

“That’s how it’s felt for this season for sure against them,” Cash said. “It’s the sign of a really good team. They’ve got a knack for coming up and getting the big hit. When they need one, they get two. When they need two, they get four. It’s a good team. Yes, those little things add up and the extra 90 feet here and there just makes everything flow for them a little bit.”

Drake said the walks did him in.

“Extremely frustrating. When you do that, you don’t really give yourself or the team a chance. Putting two guys on for free — that can come back to hurt you. Unfortunately, it did. Our offense did a heck of a job battling back there off Chapman. Real frustrating to do that.”

Emilio Pagan talked about the frustration of the defeat.

“They’re a good team,” Pagan said. “Most teams, when you keep giving them chances to take advantage of the situation like that – most teams take advantage at some point. They’re an ultra-talented roster, obviously. It’s frustrating, but our hitters, our offense was awesome today. They battled back multiple times. Had a lot of great ABs against some really good pitching. It stinks but at the same time we know we’re in a good spot. We’re a confident group. We’ll be ready to go tomorrow

“I just think it’s the game of baseball, man. LeMahieu – I got the ground ball. It’s just two feet to the right of Willy. If it’s hit right at Willy, it’s a double play for sure. Then I get the strikeout to Hicks and Sánchez was just sitting on the slider. I mean, it wasn’t a terrible pitch, probably caught a little too much of the inner half of the plate, but it was a slider down. Had good velocity to it. It’s one of those things where he’s just sitting on it and he’s a really good hitter. It’s frustrating. But at the same time I was ultra-confident I could get out of that situation with one or no runs and give our offense a chance.

The Rays take on the Yankees again tonight at 7:10 p.m. at Tropicana Field. Rookie Brendan McKay will start for the Rays against Masahiro Tanaka.




{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller July 5, 2019 at 1:05 pm

The Rays have to do something about getting a closer from somewhere, somehow. If not you can kiss this whole season goodbye. It’s so obvious Alvarado and Castillo aren’t getting the job done and there is no reason to think they will this year. Cash keeps talking about how those 2 have to do it but how? They have failed over and over. It’s insanity to keep throwing them out there. Chaz Roe is another one that has been a washout and has contributed in a big way to the failures of the bullpen.


Gary Shelton July 5, 2019 at 10:48 pm

All of that’s true, Larry. But other pitchers have failed too. Stanek tonight. Drake last night. This team can’t count on anyone. I hope someone is shedding theirs at the trade deadline.

IT was funny. I was watching the talking heads the other night, and they were comparing the starters for the Yankees series and predicted three of four victories. I always screamed at the TV: It isn’t the starters, moron. It’s the finishers.

Wow. bad. Just bad.


BILL MYERS July 5, 2019 at 8:29 am

I thought this was Independence Day not Ground Hog Day! The Rays seem to be stuck in a loop of some sort. It is obvious that closing is the weakness in Chase’s bullpen. So what do you do about it? What can you do about it?


Gary Shelton July 5, 2019 at 10:22 am

Hard to do much about it in the middle of a season. You can try different guys from the minors, but the team was counting on Alvarado and Castillo to be at least as good as Romo was. Their stuff is much better, but throwing strikes is kind of a big deal. They had a way out, but they flinched in the bidding for Kimbrel.


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