Baserunning leaves Rays as losers once again

by Gary Shelton on August 2, 2020

in general

Choi made a base running error in the 10th/CHUCK MULLER

Sunday, 4 a.m.

In a season that is so short, how can a team endure a losing streak that is so long?

The Tampa Bay Rays lost their fourth straight game Saturday night, sleepwalking their way to a. 5-4, 11-inning decision against a cellar-dwelling team Baltimore Orioles team.

Five games? It doesn't sound like that much, does it? But in a season so abbreviated that each game counts roughly 2.7 games in a regular season, such a streak can be post-season threatening. After only nine games, and the Rays have trailed in eight of them, it could well be a week that the Rays think about for some time to come. And it might not be over with yet.

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This time, at least, the Rays got up off the deck. They trailed 4-1 going into the eighth inning but rallied to tie the game. After that, however, they couldn't do a lot.

Pat Valaiika, a pinch-hitter who was batting only .200, came in and golfed a bloop hit to right to knock in the winning run off Chaz Roe. The runner who scored was Bryan Holiday, who was on base because of the new rule that puts a runner at second as extra innings begin.

"I don't think that's baseball at all," Roe said. "I think that's a terrible rule, but that's the situation we're in. But it's not how you play baseball."

The Rays' own base running skills were lacking, too. Ji-Man Choi was out at third in the top of the 10th after trying to tag up on a fly to left. And in the 11th, Kevin Kiermaier was doubled off second base.

"The ball was hit so hard," Kiermaier said. "My initial response was to go. I know you have to freeze on a line drive, but I had scoring on my mind.   I made an aggressive call and it didn't work out in our favor. That's kind how it's been going for us lately."

"We can start by not giving extra outs on the base paths," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "Frustrations are adding up inning by inning, But we have guys who care a lot.

"At the end of the day, we’ve got to find a way to start winning games. We’re not able to piece together any big innings for whatever reason."

Starter Tyler Glasnow had an uneven start, giving up two home runs in the fourth inning.

The Rays try to salvage one game from their series against Baltimore today at 1:05 p.m. at Camden Yards. The Rays will pitch Yonny Chirinos against Tommy Milone.

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