Rays’ pitching struggles again in defeat

by Gary Shelton on September 9, 2020

in general

Yarbrough had a rough outing./STEVEN MUNCIE

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

As a franchise, it is their greatest pride. As a team, it is their greatest weapon.

And suddenly, things are all wrong.

Sure, the Rays are hitting badly these days. That happens from time to time. They are not a lineup that dents the fences every night.

But the pitching? Who stole the pitching?

The Rays were beaten again by the Washington Nationals Wednesday night, losing a 5-3 decision that was their second straight loss and third in

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four games. But it was the inability of starter Ryan Yarbrough to be a better competitor that left the Rays' scratching their heads.

Yarbrough lasted just 2 2/3 innings before being chased from the game. He gave up four earned runs and six hitss.

It's been a dreadful week for the the Rays' starting pitchers. If you consider their last rotation, the big four of Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow, Charlie Morton and Yarbrough have lasted just 18 innings and given up 14 earned runs and 22 hits. Together, they are 0-3, and none of them have seen the sixth inning.

Yarbrough's performance was baffling, even when you consider he was just off the injured list.

"I don’t think he had his best command," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "He missed some spots and they made him pay for them. They drove his pitch count way up. They didn’t knock the cover off the ball, but he didn’t look like himself with the command issues and falling behind. He didn’t have a feel for all of his pitches.

"I know he’s put in the work in leading up to this game. With 10 games off, you wouldn’t think he would revert to that bad a spot. They had good at bats against him. They made him work and drove the pitch count higher than what we were comfortable with in order to keep going."

The Rays, again, scuffled at the plate, managing just six hits against Anibal Sanchez, who has struggled this season.  The Rays are hitting only .167 with runners in scoring position their last six games, and just .196 their last 13 games.

In particular, last year's star Austin Meadows is flailing. He is 0-16 in his last four games with 10 strikeouts, and his average has fallen to .202.

The Rays look to a rookie to stop the madness Thursday night against Boston when Josh Fleming gets the start at Tropicana Field. The Red Sox have not announced their starter.

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