Halfway home, the Rays hang onto first place

by Gary Shelton on August 25, 2020

in general

Snell left with the lead.JEFFREY S. KING

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

That's it? Already?

The Tampa Bay Rays are just clearing their throat, and already, they are halfway done. Pitchers are still getting stretched out, and hitters are still adjusting to a new league or a new country, and just like that. the Rays have played half of their regular season.

The Rays reached the midpoint Monday afternoon in a 6-4 loss to Toronto. And so far, you'd have to call the Rays a mixed bag: They're in first place still, but the defense has been leaky and the injuries to the pitching staff keep mounting.

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"We've got to be pretty pleased with where we’re at 30 games in given the injuries," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We’ve got to find that consistency on defense and, more important than anything is getting healthy. We’ve got to find a way to get our guys back."

The Rays are 19-11 after 30 games, and they lead the American League in runs scored. But they have nine pitchers on the injured list, and they've started 11 of them in their last 15 games.

The spotty defense was displayed again Monday. The Rays made two errors, committed catcher's interference twice and walked four batters.

"More consistency," Cash said.

Blake Snell started for the Rays and received a no decision. He threw 28 pitches in the first inning.

"I don’t know what I was doing (in the first)," Snell said. "When I came to the dugout, I was upset. I just have to believe in my stuff more. "

In particular, Snell was annoyed at a home run pitch he gave up to Lourdes Gurriel, Jr.

"I could have executed that pitch better," Snell said. "It was a stupid pitch. I could've thrown any off-speed pitch and he would have swung through it. To go back to the fastball is pretty stupid on myself. I have to be better than that."

Still, the Rays had a 3-2 lead until the seventh, when Randal Grichuk hit a three-run homer off of Aaron Loup.

The Rays batters continue to make adjustments. The three biggest bats they imported in the off-season are all struggling. Jose Martinez is hitting .250, Yoshi Tsutsugo is hitting .178 and Hunter Renfroe is hitting .167.

The Rays open a series with Baltimore tonight at Tropicana Field at 6:40. The Rays will pitch Tyler Glasnow against Tommy Millone.

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