Rays quickly bounced from playoffs

by Gary Shelton on October 5, 2023

in general

Mead drove in the Rays' only run./TIM WIRT

Thursday, 4 a.m.

And so it ends with a whimper, with a silent surrender of a team that could not measure up to its own accomplishments.

It ended with a bended knee and a bowed head, with not enough fans seeing not enough plays. It ended in weakness, in humiliation, with a near-historic ineptitude of a post-season.

The season of the Tampa Bay Rays rudely ended Wednesday afternoon in a 7-1 loss to the Texas Rangers, Forget about the 99 wins, forget the comebacks, forget the moments. This is how this team will be remembered, for the feeble way it played at the end.

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Diaz had a tough series./TIM WIRT

The Rays were bounced so quickly from the playoffs that it made you want to check the stats, the home runs and the stolen bases and the comebacks, all of it. 

If anything, this was worse than Tuesday’s loss. The Rays fell behind 7-0 — four of the runs came in the fourth inning — and never really challenged. It was one of the worst conclusions to a terrific season you can imagine. The Rays' offense was one out away from tying the Dodgers for the longest scoreless streak in post-season history.

Zach Eflin, who was tied for the American League lead with 16 wins this year, went just five innings and gave up four runs, including two home runs.

Texas starter Nathan Eovaldi made the Rays’ hitters look weak, allowing the one earned run in 5 2/3 innings of work. 

"Our bats just didn't come to life," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "They pitched really, really well."

The Rays keep being eliminated early in the playoffs. "I don't know if it's a fluke or not," Cash said. "I think the guys that we had out there were able to do better than what we did today."

In all, Texas had 28 hits and 11 runs in the two games. Not bad for a team that seemed to be running on fumes coming into the series

Aside from Randy Arozarena, who had three hits in the two games, the Rays’ biggest stars didn’t produce. Yandy Diaz, who led the AL in hitting, was just one-for-eight. Harold Ramirez was one-for-eight. And the Rays did not hit a home run.

"They just outplayed us," Cash said. "We probably didn't do ourselves any favors, but that's a good Rangers team over there and we just got outplayed."

In two games, they were two-for-11 with runners in scoring position. They struck out 21 times.

Now comes the off-season, and the Rays have decisions to make. Despite their franchise-record home runs, they did not hit enough when it counted. Their pitching depth was drained, and they missed their double-play combination.

Cash's team ousted quickly./TIM WIRT

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