Rays’ struggles on bases lead to loss to Royals

by Gary Shelton on August 20, 2022

in general

Saturday, 4 a.m.

Every team wants to be fearsome on the basepaths, and yes, the Tampa Bay Rays are.

But not in a good way.

The Rays continued to run the bases recklessly, and once again, they ran themselves out of a game in Friday night's 3-2 loss (10 innings) to Kansas City. It is an old problem. The Rays have made 56 outs on the bases this year, a statistic that doesn't include pickoffs, caught stealings or force plays.

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What if often entails is defeat.

Consider the Rays' base running in Friday night's loss.

-- In the bottom of the third, the Rays had loaded the bases. But pitcher Brady Singer picked Harold Ramirez off of second base. It was an unforgivable error -- Ramirez was no threat to steal third with a runner on the base, so why was he so far off? Especially with the hot Randy Arozarena at the plate?

-- In the ninth, Taylor Walls was thrown out at second trying to stretch a single into a double. It was a more forgivable misplay. With one out, Walls was trying to get into scoring position.

-- In the bottom the 10th, down 3-2, Roman Quinn was on second. He didn't move on a grounder to short -- even though the shortstop was throwing to first all along. He didn't move when a ball bounded away from catcher Salvador Perez. But then he tried to steal third and was thrown out on a perfect thrown by Perez. "I didn't get the best jump," Quinn said.

The Rays failures on the bases coupled with their one-for-six hitting with runners in scoring position led to the team wasting a solid start by Shane McClanahan, who gave up just two hits over seven innings. One of the hits was a home run by Bobby Witt Jr.

"You  try to get ahead and sneak a pitch past him," McClanahan said. "He’s a good hitter and made me pay."

The Royals scored their winning run by playing small ball, bunting the designated runner to third to start the inning. Michael A. Taylor scored on Michael Massey's sacrifice fly. 

"I can’t fault either one of them," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said of Walls and Quinn's outs. "Wallsy’s trying to get in scoring position double. Roman didn’t get there on Yandy’s ball; you’ve got to force it a little bit to see if we can get in a contact situation with Frankie. Just a great play by Salvador."

The Rays and Royals play again today at 4:10 p.m. Drew Rasmussen will start for the Rays against Kris Bubic.

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