Rays face elimination against Dodgers

by Gary Shelton on October 26, 2020

in general

Monday, 4 a.m.

Are the Tampa Bay Rays finally out of miracles?

By now, you have come to expect them. Someone, someone you would never expect, is going to be the catalyst to the latest victory. Somehow, like a gift from the sky, the Rays were going to find a way to win.

Time and again, it has happened this season. The Rays, full of scrap and pluck, would turn into escape artists in cleats, and they would beat a richer team from a bigger market. You have come to expect it. Even when they were behind, you could often feel victory in the shadows.

Who would it be this time? Randy Arozarena? Brett Phillips? Mike Brousseau? Anyone?

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Ah, but there are only so many wishes in the genie's lamp. Perhaps, after a 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night, you wondered if the Rays had used their allotment. Here on the edge of second-best, one loss away from elimination, you wondered if the highlights were complete.

Certainly, for much of the game, this had the feel of one of those games the Rays would win, and the opposition would walk away muttering.

It could have been the fourth inning, when Manny Margot walked, stole second and moved to third on an error. After Hunter Renfroe walked, the Rays had runners on first and third with no one out. They did not score. A pop-up, a strikeout and a failed attempt to steal home ended it.

Margot was running on his own, but he was tagged just short of the plate.

"It was my decision,' he said. "It was 100 percent my decision. I thought it was a good idea at the time. I thought I had a pretty good chance to be safe.

Cash didn't call the play, but he supported Margot.

“It’s a read," Cash said. "I know Kershaw has a real high handset. I think Manny felt he had a bead on him and that he could time him up. It was a frustrating inning. Ideally we’ve got to find a way to get that guy in to tie the game right there.

"I think we try to make decisions to allow players to be the athlete they are. If Manny felt he had a read on it, it’s tough for me to say yes or no. He’s a talented base-runner. He’s trying to do something to pick his team up.”

OF course, only part of the problem was on Margot. The other part was that Joey Wendle and Willy Adames failed to drive him in. Hitting has been a problem with the Rays all season.

The Rays could have made it a game in the eighth, when Kevin Kiermaier singled and went to second on a wild pitch with one out. Brousseau walked, but post-season hotshot Arozarena came up that inning, but he flied out to right.

It could have been in the ninth, when Margot singled to lead off the inning. But two strikeouts and a fly out ended the threat.

It all meant that the Rays now have to win two straight games over the Dodgers to win the series. They get their first chance Tuesday night at 8:08 when Blake Snell starts against a to-be-determined pitcher from Los Angeles.

Like much of the series, the Rays fell behind early. It was 2-0 after one inning and 3-0 after two. Starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow struggled, giving up four earned runs in five innings. He gave up six hits and walked three.

The Rays faced win-or-go-home games against the Yankees and the Astros. However, they faced only one in each series.

?We’re going to have to do it again," Cash said "We have to somehow prevent them from getting early leads on us. That's both ways. Offensively, we’ve got to do our part a little earlier and set a tone.  On the pitching with Glass  they got to him quickly. They drove his pitch count up. I was surprised he was able to get through five innings. I don’t think any of us thought that was going to be a possibility in the second or third inning."

Rays' centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier isn't willing to concede the title.

"I'm always confident in this bunch," he said. "We’ve had good bounce back. They got on us early and we couldn’t get a lot going offensively. They got a couple of more big hits than us and scored a few more runs. If there is any team that can respond well with backs against the wall, our group is the group to come through."

The Rays are off today. They will play Tuesday in Arlington.

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