Rays still have some improving to do

by Gary Shelton on September 29, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Adames put the tag on Ricahrd Urena after a rundown./JEFFREY S. KING

Saturday, 3:30 a.m.

As they limp toward the finish line, beaten and battered, this remains for the Tampa Bay Rays.

What about getting better for next year?

Despite of having a better-than-expected season, there is still room for improvement for a team that has won just three times in its last nine games. The Rays lost to Toronto Friday night, 7-6, and along the way, demonstrated some flaws that need correcting.

For instance, there was pitcher Tyler Glasnow, who manager Kevin Cash points out "has wipeout stuff." But Glasnow is just 1-5 in his time with the Rays, and his ERA is over 4.00. There is some tightening up that needs to be done.

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Mallex Smith steals third for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

For instance, there is first baseman Jake Bauers, who started off as a dependable hitter. But he ended the night hitting only .194.

For instance, there is shortstop Willy Adames. Adames is hitting .271, which isn't a bad rookie year, But Adames was hitting just .200 going into August, which means he needs to be more successful.

Adam Moore waited six years for a home run./JEFFREY S. KING

For instance, reliever Jose Alvarado at times looks like the team's closer of the future. Then comes a night like Friday when he can't find the plate.

"I think it was all command," Rays manager Kevin Cash said of Alvarado. "The velo looked normal, but he couldn’t find that strike zone, couldn’t find that consistency. It looked like he was up with fastballs, down with fastballs. The breaking balls weren’t landing in the zone and the Blue Jays did a good job of not doing him any favors. It seemed like there were a lot of 2-0, 3-1 counts in there.”

Cash, as usual, was more concerned with Glasnow's walks than the home runs he gave up.

Glasnow struck out nine, but had a no-decison./JEFFREY S. KING

“I thought he had wipeout stuff, he generally does," Cash said. "He gave up the two solo homers, which is fine. We will take solo homers. I don’t know how (Rowdy) Tellez hit that ball down out of the ballpark down at his ankles. The last at-bat, the walk, we just want to avoid that as much as possible. He’s done such a good job doing that. It was kind of on to the next guy, on to the next guy and we couldn’t stop the bleeding.”

Said Glasnow: "I think I was definitely strong in the beginning. The last two innings I wasn’t able to locate as well, didn’t get ahead of guys as well

Pham can't make the catch on a foul ball./JEFFREY S. KING

as I was in the beginning. It’s always rough, especially going out and doing good and giving up a couple runs in the last inning. I think I can build off that for next year and I’m excited to come back.”

Alvarado had a tough night for the Rays and took the loss.

“I am working on my command with my fastball for every pitch," Alvarado said. "Today I didn’t feel good. I don’t know what happened in the game. I threw my sinker and that didn’t have command, but it’s okay.”

Mallex Smith had three hits for the Rays. Adames, Austin Meadows and Adam Moore had two hits. Moore hit a home run that was his first in the major leagues since 2012.

Alvarado didn't have his command./JEFFREY S. KING

Meadows ended the night with the tying run on base when he swung at a 3-0 pitch and fouled out.

"I wanted him to (swing)," Cash said. He’s got a chance in my opinion to hit the ball out of the park.  (Ken) Giles is so tough on anybody. How many pitches are you going to get you can do damage with? He put himself in position."

The Rays need to win their last two games if they are to finish with 90 wins for the sixth time in 11 seasons. Blake Snell, one of the leaders in the discussion for the Cy Young award, pitches against Rich Borucki. The game begins at 6:10 p.m. at Tropicana Field.

Brandon Lowe tags out Richard Urena./JEFFREY S. KING




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