Rays eliminated despite coming from behind

by Gary Shelton on October 12, 2021

in general

Cash doesn't think of his team as a disappointment./TIM WIRT

Tuesday, 4 am.

A baseball season died Monday night. After all the comebacks, after all the victories, after all the moments of new arrivals, the final heartbeat of a baseball team came on a baseball field in Boston.

The Tampa Bay Rays, alas, are finished.

It ended late in the night again, when another Rays' comeback was blunted by the Boston Red Sox. The Sox won their third straight game over the Rays with a 6-5 walkoff on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning by Kiki Hernandez.

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So why would a 100-victory team go down in the first round? Put bluntly, the Red Sox hitting was better. The Red Sox relief pitching was better. And the Tampa Bay starting pitching was dreadful.

There were holes. The young pitching got exposed -- Shane Baez lasted 2 1/3 innings, Drew Rasmussen lasted two and Shane McClanahan (who had won his start) came into the game in the third inning and gave up five runs in two-thirds of an inning.

Despite coming from behind twice in the last two games, the Rays' hitting seemed to go into quiet periods. Brandon Lowe didn't get a hit in 18 trips to the plate. Nelson Cruz, brought in because of his prowess in the playoffs, hit .176. Mike Zunino, the team MVP, hit .133. Too often, the Rays' attack was centered around waiting for Randy Arozarena and Wander Franco to come to the plate.

For the moment, of course, the Rays' exit was disappointing. Eventually, that will fade, and you will be able to appreciate the good times. But not yet.

For now, it still stings.

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