Rays’ funk continues in loss to Rangers

by Gary Shelton on April 15, 2021

in general

Diaz had two hits but a base running error./CHUCK MULLER

Thursday, 4 a.m.

A dozen games into the new season, and do you still have hope for these Tampa Bay Rays?

Or is this the new reality?

The Rays were handled by the Texas Rangers for the second straight night on Wednesday, losing a 5-1 game when their bats disappeared and their bullpen couldn't keep up in a close game. The Rays fell to 5-7 on the year.

The Rays have now lost seven of their last 10 games, and they've scored just five runs in the three games against Texas. Coming into the game, the Rays had a .221 batting average, which was 22nd in the majors and 12th in the American League.

"We’ve got to be able to muster something more than just a solo home run," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "It's tough right now. It's tough going. We have too many guys who are just not feeling like themselves in the batter's box. I think that's showing more than anything right now."

The Rays were in the game as long as starting pitcher Josh Fleming, making his first start of the year, was in the game. Fleming went five innings and allowed only a homer to former Ray Nate Lowe.

But once Chris Mazza came into the game, the gates flew open. The Rangers loaded the bases with no one out in the sixth. The Rays got out of that without giving up a run, but they gave up four in the seventh.

The Rays have now allowed 68 runs this season, the most they have allowed in their first 12 games since 2007. The Rays' bullpen has an ERA of 6.19 this season.

"He's got to get ahead," Cash said. "He just couldn't get the count in his favor and the Rangers made us pay."

The Rays had a chance early when Yandy Diaz had a single and Joey Wendle hit a deep fly into the right-field corner. But although Diaz was waved home, he stopped at third. Still, it gave the Rays runners at second and third with no one out.

They did not score.

"Second and third with no outs ... we have to get one in right there," Cash said. "It looked like there was a little bit of a communication mishap. I don't know if Yandy didn’t feel he could make it or took a bad read himself."

If there was a bright spot for the Rays, it was the effort of Fleming. Aside from Tyler Glasnow's three starts, and one by Ryan Yarbrough, the rotation has yet to establish itself. Fleming's only flaw (he got the loss) came when Lowe homered to left in the second inning.

"I was thinking this afternoon that if anyone was going to get a hit or a home run or anything, it better not be him,"Fleming said. "And sure enough he took me deep. That’s how it goes sometimes."

The struggling Rays will play again against the Rangers tonight at Tropicana Field at 7:10 p.m. Rich Hill will pitch for the Rays against the Rangers' Jordan Lyles.

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