Hitless Rays lose third straight game

by Gary Shelton on September 11, 2020

in general

Brandon Lowe finally had another homer./JEFFREY S. KING

Friday, 4 a.m.

You hear the number, and you think of the immortals.

Seventeen strikeouts? In nine at-bats? Even for a team that is slumping at the plate, that's a ton.

So who did it? Roger Clemens? Max Scherzer? Randy Johnson? Nolan Ryan?

How about Mike Kickham and the fun bunch?

All together: Who?

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This is how bad the offensive funk is for the Tampa Bay Rays. They can't make loud contact. They managed just five hits in a 4-3 loss to Boston Thursday night -- their third-straight defeat -- and whiffed 17 times against Kickham and four relief pitchers. Kickham was making his first start of the season but against the Rays, he looked like a Cy Young contender.

"We have a lineup full of guys where it’s not coming easy for them," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "This is a tough game. It’s never easy, but when you have a bunch of guys who are just not feeling it right now, you’re going to have some nights like that."

How bad was it? The biggest hits for the Rays were by players who had been slumping. Hunter Renfroe, who had been two-for-25 entering the game, hit a home run. On the next pitch, Brandon Lowe -- who had been one-for-25 coming in -- homered. Later in the game, Austin Meadows -- who had been 0-for-16 -- doubled in a run.

“Right now, we’ll take anything," Cash said. "Some positive signs. I think that’s what we need right now. We lean so heavily on Austin anytime. What Brandon did for the month was spectacular. They’re allowed to have the ups and downs of the season. You just would rather it would come when other guys are filling that void a little bit. We’re not doing it as good as we’re capable of.”

The Rays play Boston again tonight at Tropicana Field. Game time is 6:40 p.m. The Rays will start Blake Snell. The Red Sox have not announced their starting pitcher.

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