Rays lose 4th straight as pitching slips

by Gary Shelton on June 19, 2021

in general

Is Cash giving his pitches more length?/JEFFREY S. KING

Saturday, 4 a.m.

They won't refer to Rays' manager Kevin Cash as Captain Hook any more.

Cash, who has developed a reputation for getting his starters out of the game before trouble arrives, especially in last year' s World Series, seems to be trending the other way.

These days, he's stuck with his starting pitchers far longer than one would expect.

Take Friday night, for instance, when starter Michael Wacha struggled from the first pitch. Wacha game up six hits in the first two innings. On the night, he faced 22 batters and gave up 11 hits and a walk in the Rays' 5-1 loss to Seattle.

It was the fourth straight game the starting rotation has struggled, and the slump came immediately after the team learned that ace Tyler Glasnow would be out indefinitely.


Four games ago, Shane McClanahan lasted five innings and gave up seven hits and three runs. The Rays lost.

Three games ago, Ryan Yarbrough lasted 6 2/3 innings and gave up 10 hits and seven runs.

Two games ago, Rich Hilll lasted five innings and gave up six hits and four runs.

And then came Wacha, who gave up five runs and 11 hits before the Rays could get him out of the game. In all, the Rays starters in the last four games have given up 34 hits and 19 runs in 20 innings.

“It was not the start that I really  planned on," Wacha said. "It was pretty frustrating. Looking  back on it , I’ve got to make some better pitches.  I felt like I was getting ahead, but my two-strike pitches weren’t where they needed to be. I've just got to two a better job at that."

The Mariners jumped on Wacha with six hits in the first inning and four runs.

“He competed really well," Cash said. "I'm confident Wach’s going to do that. We probably got beat around by the shift about as much as I can recall. They hit some balls hard. They had a good approach, they didn’t try to do too much. They found spacing and they capitalized when guys got on base.

"We all want to see (Wacha) do well. He’s fully  capable of doing well. Tonight just wasn’t our night."

The Rays troubles this week aren't just about starting pitching. The hitting has been streaky, too. The Rays had only five hits Friday night, and they've had just 27 in their four losses.

Outfielder Brett Phillips called it "a little dry spell."

The Red Sox lost to Kansas City, so the Rays continue to lead the AL East by a half-game.

The Rays and Mariners will play again tonight at 10:10 p.m. at T-Mobile Park. Josh Fleming will start for Tampa Bay against Logan Gilbert.

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