Slow starts cost Rays against Baltimore

by Gary Shelton on July 20, 2021

in general

Yarbrough getting frustrated after loss./JEFFREY S. KING

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

If the Rays can't get off to better starts, it might be the finish of them.

Team Wait-Til-the-Sixth got off to another slow beginning Monday night, and it ended up costing them. They lost 6-1 to the Baltimore Orioles, a team they had beaten in all six games they two had played this year.

This time, the Rays added a sluggish ending to their sluggish start. For the night, they had just five hits. Four of them came off starter Spenser Watkins, who was starting just his third game in the major leagues.

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It continued a recent trend of tortoise-like beginnings for the Rays. In the last week, they've been no-hit three times through five innings, one hit once and two-hit once.

Pitching, too, can get off to a bad start. Rays' starter Ryan Yarbrough gave up hits to the first three batters he faced and trailed 2-0 before getting anyone out. Yarbrough also gave up a four-run sixth.

“It's starting to get pretty frustrating with some things, to be completely honest," Yarbrough said. "There was a lot of soft contact...that's where the frustration is. In the sixth, you get two outs and get this close to getting out of the inning and it crumbles in your hands a little bit. That's kind of how my season has gone. You have these outings where you feel like you're throwing a little better than the scoreboard indicates. It's a long season, and I know things even out, but I'm not going to lie -- it's starting to get pretty old."

The Rays entered the game batting .230, 13th in the 15-team American League. They were hitting .237 with runners in scoring position and led the league in strikeouts.

“Watkins threw a good ballgame," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He had a good fastball. He has a unique cutter and kept us off balance. We couldn’t get him timed up. Randy (Arozarena) had a good night, but aside from him, we couldn’t get anything going."

The Rays play the Orioles again tonight at Tropicana Field (7:10 p.m.). Shane McClanahan will start for the Rays against John Means.

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