The Rays’ hitless wonders whiff against Red Sox

by Gary Shelton on August 9, 2017 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Souza tries bunting his way aboard in the Rays' loss./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Souza tries bunting his way aboard in the Rays' loss./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Wednesday, 3 a.m.

If HBO wants another Tampa Bay team, we have just the one for them.

They are the Tampa Bay Rays.

The team with almost No Knocks.

The Rays' quiet offense was mute again Tuesday night, losing a 2-0 game to the Boston Red Sox to continue their latest hitting funk. The Rays have been shut out in three of their last four games, have two runs total in their last 36 innings and have 22 hits. The Rays are hitless in their last 24 at bats with runners in scoring position.

And the slump goes on.

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Pruitt gave the Rays' another superb start./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Pruitt gave the Rays' another superb start./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Boston's Chris Sale, one of the leaders in the AL Cy Young talk, handled the Rays easily, striking out 13 and giving up singles to only Wilson Ramos and Peter Bourjos. The Rays have never scored fewer runs in a four-game series.

Before the all-star break, the Rays were averaging 4.76 runs per game. Since then, they are scoring 3.29.

“We're going through a dry spell,” said Rays' rightfielder Steven Souza Jr. “The pitching has been great so really

Longoria frustrated as the Rays get two hits./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Longoria frustrated as the Rays get two hits./ANDREW J. KRAMER

all we've got to do is start getting the bats alive again. This is a tough stretch. Like we said before, if we thought it was going to be easy, it isn't. If we thought there wasn't going to be bumps in the road, we were mistaken.”

The Rays fell to 6 ½ games behind the Red Sox. However, they are virtually tied with Kansas City in the wild-card race.

“We couldn't quite figure Sale out,” said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. “He's very good. He makes it very difficult. It's not an easy at bat.You're facing probably the game's best, and then you face the other game's best (Craig Kimbrel) in the ninth.”

The Rays, for the fourth straight game, got a nice starting pitching performance. Austin Pruitt went six innings and gave up only one run, the same numbers that the Rays' previous three starters have gotten.

“You're always concerned,” Cash said. “You want to win those games. We're 1-3 in those games. We neeed to find a way to win when our pitches do so well. We need them to continue to do so well. Our offense is going to get going.”

The only run that Pruitt surrendered came in the fourth. With one out, he coaxed a ground ball from Rafael Devers back to the mound. In his haste to turn the double play, however, Pruitt threw wide of second, and Adeiny Hechavarria was unable to turn two, allowing the run to score.

“It looked like he slipped off the mound a little bit,” Cash said. “He might have rushed and that pushed Hecy off.”

Ramos had one of the Rays' hits./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Ramos had one of the Rays' hits./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Said Pruitt: “I was pretty upset with myself,” Pruitt said. “It could have been better. Tonight, Chris Sale was pretty unbelievable, pretty unhittable.”

Another odd play for the Rays came in the seventh. Logan Morrison walked, and Steven Souza Jr. came up. However, he bunted, and Morrison was thrown out at second.

“I was trying to get on base,” Souza said. “Just trying to make something happen. It was a push bunt … poorly executed. If I could get it a little bit to the left of him, I think I've got a base hit. If I get it down, we've got runners on first and second and nobody out.”

Of course, you can debate whether Souza – with 24 homers – should be giving himself up so late in the game. But the team wasn't hitting, so you can understand.

That's the thing. Everyone knew the Rays faced a tough run in their schedule, but with excellent teams – New York, Houston, Milwaukee, Boston – comes excellent pitching. Lately, that pitching has been good enough to make the Rays look like they're not a very good hitting team.

Cash thinks his team will snap out of.

Soon would be nice sight.

The Rays go against Boston again tonight when Jake Odorizzi pitches against Rick Porcello. Game time is 7:10 p.m. at the Trop.

Benintemdi slides  under Brad Miller for the steal./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Benintendi slides under Daniel Robertson for the steal./ANDREW J. KRAMER

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