Colome stumbles again as Rays lose game, series

by Gary Shelton on June 26, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

Cash has seen his bullpen stumble once ogain./JEFFREY S. KING

Cash has seen his bullpen stumble once again./JEFFREY S. KING

Monday, 2 a.m.

And suddenly, the problems of the Tampa Bay Rays begin with the player you most expect to end them.

Alex Colome once again failed to close the door, giving up three ninth-inning runs in an 8-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles gave up five runs for the 21st time in 22 games, but they took advantage of a leaky Rays' bullpen for the win.

Colome has now given up five runs in his last two games, along with five hits. As a whole, the bullpen threw 6 2/3 innings against the Orioles and gave up nine runs on nine hits and four walks.

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Colome surrendered three runs in the ninth to lose./JEFFREY S. KING

Colome surrendered three runs in the ninth to lose./JEFFREY S. KING

“Nothing is going on,” Colome said. “I feel like every time I go out, there’s nothing different. Tonight, I just missed like one pitch. I try to do my best today because we had the series 1-1. We tried to win today, but you saw what happened. I missed one pitch, they won. If you miss one pitch, they can take it. If I have to pitch tomorrow, I’d do the same thing. I don’t have to change anything.”

Perhaps not, but the Rays' bullpen seems like a wildfire lately. Where is Kevin Cash supposed to turn to stop the other team? Chase Whitley? He had the blown save Sunday. Tommy Hunter? Travis Pruitt? Jose Alvarado?

The bullpen has been the weak point of the Rays all season. The starting pitching has been pretty good, especially with the addition of Jacob Faria. The hitters are among the best in the American League. The defense is spotty, but there is hope.

The bullpen? It's looks like explosive experts trying to defuse a bomb.

"There's always some concern," Cash said. "We need to find a way to get the ball to Alex and not always be a one-run game and not always have Alex come in in the eighth. That's not an ideal scenario to play a whole season with, when you ask your ninth-inning guy to come in early."

As baseball has moved away from the complete game, teams have relied more and more on their bullpens. Most teams use four or five relievers in most games to preserve matchups.

Consider this. The Rays are 19th in the league in bullpen ERA. Of the 11 teams they're ahead of, nine trail them in the standings. There is a direct link between winning and relieving.

Colome, who saved his 20th game in a rough outing on Tuesday, took the loss in this one.

“The guy comes up and gets a leadoff single,” said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. “You look back at Rickard’s at-bat, he threw two of his wipeout cutter-sliders and then he

Longoria put the Rays ahead with a three-run homer./STEVE MUNCIE

Longoria put the Rays ahead with a three-run homer./STEVE MUNCIE

tried to follow up with a third one that stayed up in the zone a little bit. Anytime you show the hitter your best two ones, you’re putting more pressure on yourself to throw another one. Alex can definitely do that. He just left that pitch up a little bit more. I’m not really reading into any of Alex’s issue today or non-issue. We have other things that we need to worry about.”

The Rays had come from a 2-0 deficit to take a 5-3 lead on Evan Longoria's three-run homer. But the Orioles' bullpen shut the door on the Rays' hitters.

Jake Odorizzi gave up four runs in seven innings, including giving up two homers. That marked the 11th straight appearance in which Odorizzi has given up a homer, a record that ties Wilson Alvarez, who set it in 1998.

“That’s how it’s been the whole year, just been a grind,” Odorizzi said. “I don’t feel

Odorizzi continued to struggle in his no-decision./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Odorizzi continued to struggle in his no-decision./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

like at one start this entire year that I’ve had my good stuff and it’s just something I have to pitch through and keep getting through. It’s been a struggle so far. There’s been good points, sure, but I just need to be doing a better job.”

Odorizzi said he wasn't concerned, however, even though he has given up three earned runs or more in five straight starts. It matches the longest streak of his career.

“No, I’ve had worse results than what I’ve had now. It’s just a matter of pitching through it. It’s not like I have my good stuff and I’m getting hit around. Just having a struggle. Trying to grind through outings, but it’s taxing. The only way to get

Robertson had two hits for the Rays./STEVEN MUNCIE

Robertson had two hits for the Rays./STEVEN MUNCIE

through it is keep pitching. It’s just the way it goes sometimes. We did a pretty good job offensively. It’s a shame that it fell apart late, but I have to do a better job early on. Those situations might not come up in the game.”

“There’s not really a lot of times of having it. Nothing feels very smooth. I’ll work through it. I’m not too overly concerned about it. It’s a long season. I still have plenty of starts to go, I’ll just have to turn the corner. Once you get through it one time and start feeling good, it snowballs from there. I’ll work on it and get better and take the ball every fifth day and keep working.”

The Rays had been successful winning series, but fell to 8-2-3 in their last 13 series.

“Not the way we wanted to finish off a homestand here. We had an opportunity to win two games,” Cash said. “Give credit to the Orioles for piecing together some big at-bats there late. Even early on, it was a struggle for Odorizzi. More than what we like to see. He battled and grinded through it. It just seemed like they worked him really hard and he didn’t have command of the pitches that he normally does. His delivery got out of sorts at times, talking to Hick during the game. There were some big things. Longo’s home run. It was nice to get some separation there, but at the end of the day, their lineup, especially their bottom of the lineup, caused a lot of damage.”

The Rays now begin a road trip in Pittsburgh, where Alex Cobb pitches against the Pirates' Trevor Williams.

Corey Dickerson had two more hit./CARMEN MANDATO

Dickerson had another pair of hits for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO







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