Rays play down to competition again

by Gary Shelton on July 25, 2022

in general

Monday, 4 a.m.

Once again, they were less than the worst in baseball. Such is the dilemma of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Facing a Kansas City team that has had a dismal record, and a pitcher who has often thrown batting practice, the Rays were dreadful again Sunday afternoon. They lost to the Royals, who are in last place in the AL Central, by a score of 4-2.

The Rays, however, keep tripping over lousy baseball teams. They are now 12-13 on the season against last-place teams. They are 19-18 against teams that are below .500. And they have lost five of their last six to cellar dwellers.

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After this one, the Rays were passed by Toronto for second place in the AL East and the prime Wild Card position.

"I don’t know why when we play teams like this, stuff like that happens," Yandy Diaz said. "But that’s baseball, I guess."

Part of the reason "stuff" like Sunday happened is the Rays' sputtering offense, which managed only five hits. On Saturday, the Rays didn't get a hit for the game's first five innings; Sunday, they got just one, a solo homer by Diaz.

The Royals, meanwhile, had 14 hits. For the three games, they had 39 hits.

Even more surprising was the pitching effort of Kris Bubic, who entered the game with a 1-6 record and an ERA of 5.87. Yet, he flummoxed the Rays.

"It was a frustrating game," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "We didn’t hit. We didn’t defend as well as we could. I was glad to have Springsie back. I thought he competed. I thought the Royals put together some good at-bats. He still limited the damage with all of those hits. Defensively, we weren't as crisp as we'd like to be or as we normally are.

“I expect to win every series. The Royals played well. We’re a good team We have to find a way to win that series."

The Rays now travel to Baltimore to face the Orioles, another last-place team (although they were .500 going into Sunday's play). Corey Kluber will start for the Rays against Austin Voth.

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