Squandered chances lead to loss by Rays

by Gary Shelton on September 2, 2021

in general

Wendle thrown out at the plate late./CHUCK MULLER

Thursday, 4 a.m.

Perhaps it was a matter of the rent coming due. All good baseball teams lose now and then. For the Tampa Bay Rays, maybe it was the odds catching up to them.

On the other hand, can anyone around here hit the ball? The Rays squandered repeated chances in a 3-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox, including going 0-for-11 with runners in scoring. position.

And while we're asking questions, can anybody here hit a fly ball? The most frustrating part of Wednesday's loss was that in successive innings, the Rays had runners cut down at the plate. In the seventh, it was Joey Wendle, because Randy Arozarena couldn't manage a fly with one out. In the eighth, it was Wander Franco, when Manny Margot hit a ground ball.

It was a night that will haunt Margot for some time to come. In the second, he dove for a ball off he bat of Alex Verdugo, and the ball got by him for a triple. Later in the inning, he had an error on a single to center.

Later in the game, he was thrown out trying to steal third with no one out.

Rays' manager Kevin Cash wrote the loss off to Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale.


"That’s. what happens when you’re facing a guy like Chris Sale," Cash said. "He looked really good.It seems he's got a knack for making the big pitch with guys on base. He did that tonight."

As far as the plays at the plate -- both with runners going on contact -- Cash gave the Red Sox' defense credit.

"We’re going  to try, more times than not, to put pressure on the defense," Cash said. "If you get a good jump, it’s got to be a really close play. The defense has to do everything perfectly, and ultimately, they did."

The Rays had a nine-game winning streak coming in, and they had built a comfortable lead in the AL East. None of that was any consolation to Pete Fairbanks, who gave up the winning hit.

"I hate losing no matter what," Fairbanks said. "That's not on anyone's forefront that we built up a lead. We want to win every night. That's why we go out there. "

Franco had two hits for the Rays -- a homer and a double, to reach base for the 32nd straight game. He is now four games behind Mickey Mantle's streak from 1951 (and three National Leaguers).

The Rays will play against Boston again tonight (7:05 p.m.) at Tropicana Field. Shane McClanahan will start for the Rays against Boston's Eduardo Rodriguez.

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