Rays sloppy in yet another loss to Chicago

by Gary Shelton on April 17, 2022

in general

Cash's team is off to a horrid start./TIM WIRT

Sunday, 3 a.m.

Not saying the Tampa Bay Rays look ugly, but any day now, they're going to start getting "Welcome Home" postcards from Chuck LaMar.

The Rays took another one on the nose Saturday afternoon, losing a 3-2 decision to Chicago that was the team's fourth loss in a row and fifth in the last six games. Once again, they were sluggish and sloppy.

They didn't hit. They didn't catch. They didn't run the bases. They didn't keep their cool. Naturally, they didn't win.

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“We’re 4-5 for a reason," said manager Kevin Cash. "A lot of it is that we haven’t been as crisp on defense. We’ve been running into a lot of outs.  That is a little uncharacteristic for this club, but we’re going to work hard to get it right.  It’s early. That’s not an excuse. We’ve got to play better. The guys know that."

Still, it 's hard to win when the team swings its bats like it's waving to the departed Nelson Cruz and Austin Meadows from afar. Check out the averages on this team: Mike Zunino is hitting .056. Kevin Kiermaier is hitting .111. Josh Lowe is hitting .125. Brett Phillips is hitting .167. Randy Arozarena is hitting .182. Taylor Walls is hitting .188. Yandy Diaz is hitting .200.

Then there is the fielding. The Rays committed two more errors against Chicago. Both runners scored.

And the base running: Kevin Kiermaier was out going to third on a ball hit back to the pitcher in the ninth. Diaz was out at the plate when the ball caromed back to White Sox third baseman Josh Harrington.

The Rays tied the game in the sixth, but immediately gave the run back. Taylor Walls booted a ground ball to start the inning, and Yasmani Grandal drove in the run against a drawn-in shift by taking an outside pitch to the opposite field.

"If there are going to be ground balls hit in the infield, we want every one hit to Taylor Walls," Cash said. "He’s really sure-handed. It just got away from  him right there. I’ll bet he’ll make 99 of those plays in a row."

Walls said he rushed the play. In his final at bat, he said the second strike was the one he should have hit.

That pretty much sums up the Rays these days, explaining away small plays that didn't go their way.

The Rays' Randy Arozarena was ejected in the sixth inning after being called out on strikes and hurling his bat.

“It was a tight game," Arozarena said. "I thought the umpire made a bad call. I was upset about it so I threw the bat."

The Rays conclude their three-game series against the White Sox today at 2:10 p.m. The Rays have not announced a starting pitcher. Vince Velasquez will start for Chicago.

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