Rays fall to Indians, fifth shutout loss in eight games (w/video)
ST. PETERSBURG — Oh for the days of yore when Devil Rays’ bad was never this bad.
The Rays have been in hitting slumps before, but never like this. They’ve had scoreless runs, but never like this.
They were shut out again Saturday, losing 3-0 to the American League Central-leading Indians in front of 22,024, who came to the Trop to celebrate turn back the clock night.
Hey, that’s a terrific idea.
Spin that clock back to the first half of the season when scoring in bunches was a nightly affair.
The Rays have been shut out five times during the first eight games of this homestand. Four shutouts was the record for a homestand in team history.
The eight runs scored in those games are the fewest in an eight-game stretch in team history. They’re batting .175 on the homestand, including .057 with runners in scoring position.
“I don’t have an explanation,” manager Kevin Cash said. “We’re in an offensive funk. It is what it is. We’re going to get out of it. We’re going to turn this thing around, I think the guys know that.
“Good pitching and us not having our timing at the plate right now, those two things happen at the same time and things are going to spiral offensively and that’s what we’ve done here the last five, six games. It’s unfortunate, but we got to find a way to bounce back.”
The Rays (58-58) fell to .500 for the first time since June 16. They began the day a half-game out of the second AL wild-card spot and again need the Twins, Angels, Royals and Mariners to lose to avoid losing ground.
Cash said before the game he would not juggle the lineup or bench players in an effort to create some runs. He said the same after the game.
“What would I do? Take all nine of them out? We want to give some guys a day off, but at the same time we’re playing the lineup that we feel gives us the best chance to win right now, and sometimes you got to see it through with these struggles,” Cash said.
The bats are undermining the pitching, which has been more than solid during this homestand with a 2.88 ERA.
Saturday it was Chris Archer who took the loss after allowing three runs in 51/3 innings, ending his streak of pitching at last six innings at 15 games.
“Frustrated about the loss more than anything,” Archer said when asked about his outing.
He meant the team’s loss.
“We’ve faced some pretty good pitchers that have just been on,” Steven Souza Jr. said. “It’s been a stretch where we’ve had opportunities, haven’t got them in. It’s not like we’re facing a bunch of slouches out there. We’ve faced some pretty good arms — (Boston’s Chris) Sale, (Cleveland’s Carlos) Carrasco, (Milwaukee’s Zach) Davies. These guys are putting together pretty good years. We knew we’d have to grind. We knew we weren’t going to beat these guys 8-0.”
Saturday it was Indians right-hander Mike Clevinger, who pitched a career-high seven innings. He held the Rays to four hits and struck out nine.
Cash said he doesn’t believe his team is pressing. He said the Rays are a high-character team and he’s relying on that character to pull them out of this funk.
Souza doesn’t believe the team is pressing, either.
“Nobody’s vocalized it. Everybody seems okay,” he said. “We have a goal to win the World Series. When we grind ourselves falling back like we’ve done this homestand, we try to do a little more. I don’t know if you call that pressing, I call that caring and trying to create an opportunity. We just have to relax and have fun again.”