Nothing again; Astros blank Rays once more

by Gary Shelton on September 21, 2022

in general

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

In two games, the Houston Asstros have looked as if they belong in a different league than the Tampa Bay Rays.

Sadly for the Rays, they're just a different division.

For two games now, the Astros have completely outclassed the Rays. They shut them out for the second straight night Tuesday night, 5-0. The night before, it was 4-0. The Rays have now gone 20 straight innings without a run.

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They managed just three hits -- two of them by Wander Franco -- in the defeat. In two games, the Rays are zero-for-12 with runners in scoring position and have stranded 18 runners.

Just as big of a concern for the Rays is the health of pitching staff star Shane McClanahan, who was pulled after four innings with spasms in his neck. McClanahan swore he was fine, and doesn't expect to miss his next start, but he allowed five runs, five hits and four walks in his brief outing.

“I think he’s in in a pretty good spot," said manager Kevin Cash. "He was pretty adamant. He did not want to come out. He was hot happy about that, but you know we’re  trying to make the best decisions. It’s his second start back from time on the IL. I think we all understand how important he is to our club. If I see something that’s uncharacteristic the best course of action is to pull him out of the ballgame. It’s okay for him to be mad at me."

Said McClanahan:  "I fought to stay in the game. I felt fine five seconds after I was pulled. I respect the precautionary move. I’m ready to get back out there."

The Rays didn't solve Astros starter Cristian Javier, who lost four games in August alone. Javier threw five innings of one-hit baseball.

Offensively, the Rays have not slowed down Jose Altuve, who is four for seven and has scored five times in the series.

The Rays play the Astros for the final time at home tonight at 6:40 p.m. at Tropicana Field. Corey Kluber will start for the Rays against Lance McCullers.

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