Rays win, but lose Ramirez to a broken thumb

by Gary Shelton on July 18, 2022

in general

Monday, 4 a.m.

Half a season gone. Half a roster hurt.

And so goes the yin and yang of the Tampa Bay Rays' season. Some games won; some games lost. Some fine performances here; some ugly ones there.

And then there are the walking wounded that have defined the Rays pretty-good-but-not-special season.

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The Rays did it again Sunday afternoon in their final game before the All-Star break. They won a game, but they lost a performer. Too often, this season has been that way. Much of the glee of the year -- the Rays lead the Wild-Card chase -- has been spent while shaking a head over the latest injury.

Harold Ramirez, who has been the Rays' most dependable performer in the first half, broke his thumb in the Rays' 7-5 win over the Baltimore Orioles. Ramirez, who is hitting .329, will be sidelined for two weeks and then further evaluated.

“All I’ve heard is (he'll be) two weeks shutdown and nothing," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "You feel for Harold. He cares a lot. He's just really frustrated by it. He might have been putting together his best season. Hopefully he’s a quick healer."

The Rays were able to win Sunday because of the long ball. Brett Phillips his a three-run homer, Randy Arozarena a two-run shot and Francisco Mejia a solo shot to lead the Rays. Tampa Bay was ahead 6-0 and held on.

The home run was a long time in coming for Phillips. He hadn't hit one since May 17. He had been one for his last 34 and three for his last 50 entering the game. In 37 games since May 24, he had endured 0-for-31 and 0-for-28 skids. He had struck out on 47.3 percent of his at-bats.

"There’s no sugar-coating it," Phillips said. "Everyone can see it. I can see it. There’s not a day goes by that I’m not working to get better. When you’re struggling like this, the only way to get through it is to keep working and stay positive."

The Rays were also helped by Brendan Lowe, who went four-for-four on his second day back in uniform.

"It can’t be talked about enough," Lowe said of Ramirez's injury. "He’s been as much an All-Star as some of the guys who were selected for the game. He’s been incredible for us this year. Hs presence is definitely going to be missed."

Also returning for the Rays was Pete Fairbanks, who hadn't pitched in 259 days. His first pitch was a homer off the bat off Austin Hayes. Fairbanks threw hard, however, and got through the inning.

The Rays will now have several days off for the All-Star game. The Rays return to action on July 22 in Kansas City.

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