The Rays are different, but are they better?

by Gary Shelton on July 29, 2017 · 2 comments

in Baseball, general, Tampa Bay Rays

Hechavarria's single broke up Tanaka's no-hitter./CARMEN MANDATO

Hechavarria's single broke up Tanaka's no-hitter./CARMEN MANDATO

Saturday, 2 a.m.

The newly reconstructed Tampa Bay Rays face an age-old question these days.

Are they better off?

A flurry of activity – three trades in two days, six in six weeks – didn't help the Rays Friday night in a 6-1 defeat by the New York Yankees at Yankee

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Pruitt allowed only four hits, but three were homers./CARMEN MANDATO

Pruitt allowed only four hits, but three were homers./STEVE MUNCIE

Stadium. Over six weeks, the Rays have given their roster a new look with the additions of Trevor Plouffe, Adeiny Hechavarria, Sergio Romo, Dan Jennings, Steve Cishek and Lucas Duda.

It didn't help much against the Yankees, however, as they received a pitching gem from Masahiro Tanaka, who allowed only two hits and struck out 14 in eight innings. Tanaka had been only 7-9 with a5.37 ERA, but the Rays did little against this. Hechavarria had a single and Duda – in his first game – had a home run, but that was all Tanaka gave up.

“From the side, it didn't look like there were a lot of pitches we could handle,” Rays'

Dickerson went 0-for-4 and saw his average slip to .301./CARMEN MANDATO

Dickerson went 0-for-4 and saw his average slip to .301./CARMEN MANDATO

manager Kevin Cash said. “We weren't missing pitches. I think he made a bunch of quality-to-perfect pitches. Thats' the way it goes sometimes.

“He was relying on the slider and the split. “He threw enough fastballs to keep you honest. He was able to manipulate those pitches to both sides of the plate.”

The Rays started rookie Austin Pruitt, who allowed only four hits in his five innigs of work. Three of the hits, however, were home runs. Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge and Clint Frazier hit the home runs, with Frazier's being a three-run shot.

Whitley pitched two scoreless innings./JEFFREY S. KING

Whitley pitched two scoreless innings./JEFFREY S. KING

Tampa Bay scored when Duda hit his 18th home run of the season.

“Duda had the best at bats of anybody,” Cash said. “He can hit. He went down and got the ball for the home run. I was impressed with the presence when he walked up to the plate and how comfortable he is in the box.”

Ideally, Duda will add some pop to the lineup. Hechavarria has been solid in the field, and the new bullpen featuring Jennings, Romo and Cishek might help. But the Rays, just two games into a 17-game crunch against the league's best, have to stop their mini-slide before the race passes them by.

The Rays have now lost seven of their last nine games. The Rays have fallen behind Kansas City for the final wild-card slot.

Tampa Bay plays a day game today at 1:05 at Yankee Stadium. Blake Snell (0-6) goes for his first win against Caleb Smith of the Yankees.

Mallex Smith struck out four times for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Mallex Smith struck out four times for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeffrey King July 29, 2017 at 4:54 pm

On the Rays website you can buy a dammit doll. I think you should start taking orders now!

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Gary Shelton July 29, 2017 at 7:22 pm

Will other swear words be coming soon?

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