Rays hope they have enough time for playoffs

by Gary Shelton on September 17, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Cron hit his 27th homer for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Monday, 3 a.m.

The odds were always against them. Never, however, have the Tampa Bay Rays faced such odds.

Even on the day when they clinched their first winning season in five years, it was hard not to look at the standings and ponder the fate of the Rays, who beat the Oakland A's 5-4 Sunday afternoon.

Time is running out on the Rays, who trail the A's by seven games with 14 to play in the race for the league's final wild-card berth.

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Adames hit a home run for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

This time, the Rays had a comfortable 5-0 lead before giving up a grand slam to Khris Davis in the ninth. But Sergio Romo got his 21st save to make the lead hold up. Romo was the eighth pitcher to throw in the combined four-hitter.

“I think the conviction with the game plan and executing pitches overall, allowing and trusting that their stuff plays," manager Kevin Cash said, praising the bullpen. "Oakland came in here as hot as any team in baseball and we pitched like we needed to and gave ourselves a chance to be in every ballgame and win two of them.

Lowe had a two-run triple for Rays./STEVEN MUNCE

"A lot of guys stepped up and especially today we called on some guys that hadn’t had a ton of work here recently and hadn’t pitched in tight situations recently, but they really did a nice job. It was fun to watch them how they really pieced it together.”

C.J. Cron and Willy Adames homered for Tampa Bay.Brandon Lowe hit a two-run triple.

“He (Cron) has gotten some big hits," Cash said. "His hit, Willy’s and then Brandon Lowe. C.J. has put together a solid season. I know the playing time has been a little erratic here as of late. We have a lot of guys here swinging the bat well, but C.J. has been a huge part of our club. He’s been outstanding and the big boost right there was kind of like Brandon’s two-run homer
two nights ago.”

Cron has 27 homers on the season.

Romo had his 21st save for Rays./STEVEN MUNCIE

“We’ve been really good (at Tropicana Field) all year, so we didn’t let that first (game) get to us," Cron said. "We were playing really good even before that loss, but it was definitely a tough loss when you look at the standings and stuff like that, but at the end of the day, we knew we had two more games (to play). We knew we were good enough to win that series, and that’s what we have to do -- win games.

“There’s no way around it -- we’ve had a good year. It’s just that the guys in front of us [in the standings] are having an exceptionally good year.
I don’t know the exact numbers, but I think most years this [record] would be good enough for a playoff spot. At the end of the day, all you can do is take care of your own business. And, unfortunately, [the losses] early in the year are going to come back and bite us if we can’t get this done. But, we’ve been playing really good and have seen strides from the whole team. There’s still 14 games left, so there’s still time, and we’re going to give it our all.”

Adames has multiple hits in five of his last 11 games. He's hitting .350 since the start of September.

“It showed me that we got a really good team here," Adames said. "You know we’ve been playing good baseball and I told you it was going to be a tough series, but we bounced back and we won the next two games.

“It is a good feeling because we have been winning and we are trying to build that for next year and hopefully everybody comes back healthy next year and we have a great season like we are having right now.

The Rays now travel to face the Texas Rangers in Arlington. Tyler Glasnow will start for Tampa Bay at 8:05 p.m. against Adrian Sampson.

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