Rays fall short of pulling off series sweep

by Gary Shelton on July 26, 2021

in general

Yarbrough pitched well in the Rays' loss./JEFFREY S. KING

Monday, 4 a.m.

This time, the comeback was in the wrong direction.

This time, the bullpen didn't hold up, and the power didn't show up. The close win, and the late innings, belonged to the other guys.

This time, the Rays were knocked right back out of first place again.

A lot of things went wrong for the Rays Sunday in a 3-2 loss to Cleveland. The Rays didn't hit, and when they did, it didn't fall. They didn't hit with men on base, and they didn't come up with the big pitching performance to keep the Indians at bay.

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the GarySheltonSports.com blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on GarySheltonSports.com.

The Rays squandered the chance to sweep Cleveland in the loss. They managed just six hits, and they were only one-for-seven with runners in scoring position. Coupled with a comeback win by Boston over the Yankees, it cost the team their share of first place in the American League East.

Ryan Yarbrough gave up a leadoff home run to Cesar Hernandez, but then he settled down and stopped the Indians on five hits. But in the eighth, a fatigued Matthew Wisler came on and gave up runs on a single and a fly ball to cost his team the win.

“I give Matt a lot of cedit for taking the ball," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "We were gassed in the bullpen.  We weren’t as fresh as we like to keep these guys. It’s on me as much as anything. I appreciate the effort. He just left some pitches up and the Indians did a nice job of making adjustments."

The Rays had taken a 2-1 lead in the sixth on a home run by Nelson Cruz, and at the time, it appeared the Boom Stick may have showed his team the way of the broomstick. But the Rays had just one hit after Cruz's homer.

Yandy Diaz, in particular, had a frustrating outing. He had sharp fly balls to center and left, but Cleveland made two fine defensive plays to keep him off base.

"Yandy’s probably ready to get out of here now," Cash said. "He had a couple of hits taken away from him. He smoked a couple of balls and hadnothing to show for it."

Before the game the Rays placed reliever Collin McHugh, who has been impressive lately, on the injured list.

"Coming out of the break, he had two multi-inning outings," Cash said. "The bounce-back wasn’t quite there. I think he got arm fatigue. We know we’ve got to get him right, because he’s been as valuable as anyone  down there. It didn’t make a ton of sense to wait and for him to try to push through it. We’ll see if we can get him better because we need him."

The Rays are off today, then begin a nine-game road trip with series against the Yankees, Red Sox and Mariners. On Tuesday, the Rays will start Shane McClanahan against New York in a 7:10 p.m. start. The Yankees have not announced their starter.

Previous post:

Next post: