Rays open second half with a loss to Marlins

by Gary Shelton on July 21, 2018 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Eovaldi pitched well, but the bullpen faltered./JEFFREY S. KING

Eovaldi pitched well, but the bullpen faltered./JEFFREY S. KING

Saturday, 3 a.m.

One game into the second half of the season, and here we go again.

The Tampa Bay Rays, whose first half consisted of good stretches at bad, lost their second-half opener to Miami Friday, falling 6-5 despite a four-run rally in the ninth.

Was it familiar? Well...

-- The Rays lost by one run for the 22nd time this season.

-- Tampa Bay fell to 5-11 in interleague play this year.

-- The Rays are 1-4 in their last five games. They have allowed 39 runs in those games, compared to 27 in the previous 15 games.

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the GarySheltonSports.com blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on GarySheltonSports.com.

Smith had a three-run triple in the ninth./JEFFREY S. KING

Smith had a three-run triple in the ninth./JEFFREY S. KING

This time, the problem was a wobbly seventh inning, one in which the Rays walked three and had two errors while Miami scored five runs to take a 6-1 lead. The Marlins had only two hits in the inning, but one of them was a three-run homer by Derek Dietrich, his second homer of the night. Dietrich, a former minor league for the Rays, had three hits and four RBI.

Nathan Eovaldi went six innings for Tampa Bay and allowed just one run and struck out eight. Miami's Dan Straily, however, went seven innings and allowed only four hits.

Castillo had his second straight rough outing./JEFFREY S. KING

Castillo had his second straight rough outing./JEFFREY S. KING

Both Diego Castillo and Hoby Milner struggled for the Rays in the seventh. Castillo has pitched only 2/3 of an inning and has given up five runs in his last two appearances. Milner gave up the three-run homer to Dietrich.

Rays' manager Kevin Cash was encouraged by Eovaldi's performance.

“I think he filled up the strike zone,"  Cash said. "Today he definitely did. He had a really good cutter-slider. Just watching the highlights after his outing or in between the strikeouts, a lot of breaking pitches were strike-to-ball pitches. I think in Minnesota we saw more strike-to-strike pitches. It stayed in the zone. These pitches got out of the zone. He established enough strikes and then after that he was able to open up and once he did, that’s where he got a lot of chase.”

Milner's delivery is tough, but he gave up a three-run homer./JEFFREY S. KING

Milner's delivery is tough, but he gave up a three-run homer./JEFFREY S. KING

Eovaldi, too, liked his performance.

“Those were mainly the two pitches that I did rely on tonight," Eovaldi said. "I couldn’t really get the splitter going tonight. I threw some good sliders, but for the most part I was able to elevate the fastball when I was ahead in the count and throw the cutter in on lefties and backdoor.

“I would have liked to go a little deeper into the ballgame. I was definitely pleased with my outing, but I need to do a better job of having quicker innings.”

The Rays came back strong in the ninth on a bases-loaded triple by Mallex Smith and a sacrifice fly by C.J. Cron, but stranded two runners.

Gomez runs one down in right field./JEFFREY S. KING

Gomez runs one down in right field./JEFFREY S. KING

Tampa Bay lost Kevin Kiermaier to a sore foot, a foot that has bothered him for much of the season.

“It goes back to April 8," Kiermaier said. "I had a significant bone bruise from a game in Boston and I haven’t been able to get rid of it quite like I wanted to. You’d think being on the 60-day DL it would go away, but I squared it up really good. It’s crazy that this is still a thing. I’ve been dealing with it even through my recovery, recovering from my thumb, my foot just hasn’t felt the same.

"Some days I don’t feel it and there’s other days where I feel it a lot. You try to get all the right treatment. This is one of the main reasons why I was really looking forward to the All-Star break to get off my feet for four full days. I know this has been no news and I’ve played through it. A lot of times

Robertson reacts at third base./JEFFREY S. KING

Robertson reacts at third base./JEFFREY S. KING

it’s been a lot better than others. I have my good days and bad days with it. For me, it’s frustrating because I haven’t been able to get rid of this quite like I thought (I could), but it’s a severe bone bruise and they told me that I might not be the same for the whole year. I thought going on the 60-day DL, it would be done and over with.  I felt like I wouldn’t do the team any justice by me possibly pushing this and making it worse than what it is.

" I’m frustrated because I was really hoping those four days of staying off my feet during the All-Star break would be very beneficial for me and I showed up to the field today and started feeling it. It got worse as the day went on. We will get it looked at tomorrow and go see the doctors and see what they have to say. 2018 has been a frustrating year for me. I’ll be just fine. As frustrating as it is, I should be good to go and we’ll see what the doctors have to say tomorrow. It’s frustrating. You don’t think an injury that happened April 8 would be here to this point today, but it is. It’s no joke and I was in a lot of pain today.”

The Rays play the Marlins again today at 6:10 p.m. Ryne Stanek will pitch for the Rays against Pablo Lopez.

Kiermaier slides in with a double, but left because of a score foot./JEFFREY S. KING

Kiermaier slides in with a double, but left because of a score foot./JEFFREY S. KING

Share with:Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller July 21, 2018 at 8:24 am

So with the Rays going nowhere this year why play Kiermaier at all with that injury? It seemed like he hurt his hand again with that head first slide into second in the first inning. I was at the game and just cringed when he dove into second. I don’t know why the Rays don’t tell him he can’t do that, ever again. There are other ways to slide. He needs to learn that.

This was a winnable game but Robertson had a horrible game at the plate and in the field. I don’t think 3rd is his best position. Duffy should have been playing 3rd. Also not sure what the Rays see in Choi or Milner. Choi can’t hit a lick and Milner doesn’t fool anyone with that quirky delivery.

But it’s a year of experimentation and the Rays who are going to play everyone and experiment with anything. Winning is secondary to that.

Reply

Gary Shelton July 21, 2018 at 9:48 pm

I don’t know if it’s secondary, but it’s certainly only one of the goals for the season. I’m not sure I’d agree that they’re “going nowhere” at this point. I think you have to play it out, but this latest slide is alarming to be sure.

I think the time is drawing close when you pull the plug on KK.

Duffy’s hurt. He should return tomorrow. He is a better bet than Robertson at third.

Choi can hit it a long way. Milner can let the opponents hit it a long way. I was glad to see Justin Williams, though, to continue the youth movement.

Ever feel like you’re the guy in the Sixth Sense. “I can see dead infielders.”

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: