Rays clobbered as their slide continues

by Gary Shelton on July 2, 2022

in general

Saturday, 4 a.m.

Corey Kluber got clobbered.

Kevin Kiermaier's gold glove turned to rust.

And the runners in scoring position stayed there.

The nosedive by the Tampa Bay Rays continued on Friday in a 9-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. It was the Rays' fourth straight loss, and their 15th loss in their last 24 games. The Rays are solidly in fourth place in the AL East, only 5 1/2 games out of last.

What is the worst season a team has had the year after winning 100 games? Currently, the Rays seem to be contenders.

The Rays had a horrible afternoon. Start with Kluber, who gave up five doubles and a single in allowing five runs in the third inning. Then there was Kiermaier, who dropped a ball in center field when he tried to make a basket catch. The play was ruled a double by the scorer, but Kiermaier admitted he should have caught the ball.

“I had to go a long way to catch that," Kiermaier said. "As I kept going back more and more, I decided to do the basket catch like I've done before. I thought the ball went in my glove. It didn’t.

"It was a game-changing play, though,. I knew its right then and there. My play out there changed the game. That one’s on me. Im not happy with it. I make that play all the time. I didn’t right there. I'm very disappointed in myself. If I catch that ball, there's a runner on second and two outs. Instead, they have runners on second and third and one out. It changes everything."

Said Kluber: "That's one batter. It doesn't lead to five runs."

Nevertheless, it was over after that inning. The Rays had nine hits, but they left 11 men on base and were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

"We know that’s not going to get it done," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "We have to find ways to capitalize when guys get on base. It’s encouraging we are on base, we are getting hits, we’re just not getting the big hits.

"They got a little momentum when K.K. got to the ball and we didn’t convert it into an out. Obviously it was a tough play. There’s not many center fielders who get there.  But I think that shifted a little momentum for Corey."

The Rays try to stop their slide today in a doubleheader that starts at 12:05 p.m. Shane McClanahan will start the first game for the Rays and Drew Rasmussen, coming off the injured list, will start the second. Kevin Gausman and Thomas Hatch will start for the Jays.

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