Bullpen collapses again as Tigers beat Rays

by Gary Shelton on September 13, 2021

in general

Diaz had two doubles and drove in three runs./CHUCK MULLER

Monday, 4 a.m.

What happens when those in charge of saves need saving?

What happens when the firemen catch on fire?

The usually trustworthy bullpen of the Tampa Bay Rays seems to be in trouble. For the second time in three games, the relievers are the Rays were simply dreadful, this time leading to an 8-7, 11-inning loss to the Detroit Tigers.

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Three -- count them, three -- different relievers had meltdown performances over the last four innings of Sunday's loss. Any of the efforts would have been enough to lose; the combination of the trio was too much to overcome.

-- David Robertson -- and you may ask why he was in the game to start with -- was the first victim. He came on with a 5-2 lead in the eighth inning. In one inning, he gave up four hits and two earned runs.

-- Then came Andrew Kittredge, last seen given up a grand slam on Friday night. Kittredge had a 7-5 lead when he entered, and was one strike away from winning when he gave up a two-run homer to Jeimer Candelario in the 10th.

-- After that, it was J.P. Feyereisen, who forgot how to throw strikes. He walked three, including one that forced in the Tigers' winning run. Out of 21 pitches, he threw just seven strikes.

Rays' manager Kevin Cash insisted his bullpen isn't tired, and that their stuff is the same as ever. But would a team admit its bullpen is weary? No team in the league has used its relievers more than the Rays, who have now thrown 613 innings (and won a league-high 52 games).

“There are not too many concerns," Cash said. "The stuff looks the same. The strike zone wasn’t as available to us today. It lined up well for the Tigers and they took advantage of it. "

Kittredge, one of the most dependable of the Rays' pitchers this season, suddenly cannot keep the ball in the park.

”Very frustrating," Kittredge said. "Especially coming on he heels of the one the other night. It was the same pitch, really, just the opposite side of the plate. It was a breaking ball, and he made me pay for it."

“I don’t think there’s a ton of reason to be concerned. I have a lot of faith in the guys we’ve got down there. Everyone’s stuff is still the same. Everyone’s still the guy they’ve been all year. No reason to get worried, but we've got to do a better job. We just have to get back on track."

The Rays trailed 2-1 going into the seventh but scored three times, including a two-run homer by Brett Phillips. But Robertson allowed Detroit to come back to tie.

The Rays then took a 7-5 lead, but once again, Detroit came back.

The Rays lost in extra innings for the 12th time in 18 games.

The Rays now travel to Toronto to face the hot Blue Jays, who have pulled into a tie for second place in the AL East. Ryan Yarbrough will start tonight's 7:05 p.m. game. Alek Manoah will pitch for the Blue Jays.

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