The Tampa Bay Rays’ 2014 season is beginning to look as though it is never going to turn around. Fans and players have hoped that the Rays would figure it out eventually, but it appears that they may be in a hole too deep to dig out of. The Rays have gone from being a playoff team to the worst team in baseball in an extremely short amount of time, which has left the team with very little morale.
Last night, the Rays took on the Baltimore Orioles in the rubber game of their three-game series. Alex Cobb pitched an excellent game in which he surrendered only one unearned run and four hits in seven innings. As good as Cobb was, however, it was not enough for the Rays to secure a much-needed victory. Errors, both mental and physical, contributed heavily to Wednesday’s defeat. The Orioles’ first run came in the fifth inning on a two-out error by Ben Zobrist, which was followed by an RBI double to put the O’s up by one. Evan Longoria’s mental miscue came in the sixth inning, after hitting a leadoff double. Later in the inning, he lost track of the number of outs, and took off after Zobrist hit a fly ball to left with only one out. Longoria was easily doubled up to end the inning. Kirby Yates would later surrender a solo homerun to Nelson Cruz in the eighth. The Orioles would go on to win 2-0, after a dismal offensive performance by the Rays.
This kind of performance is beginning to be expected of the Rays, as they are now 13 games behind the first place Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East. It seems as though the Rays always find away to lose a game, regardless of how it happens or who is at fault. It is inexcusable to have your starting pitcher deliver a solid seven innings, in which he surrenders no earned runs, and still have him pick up the loss. The Rays’ offensive problems have become the norm at this point, but crucial errors are usually not something that Maddon’s squad is known for.
The Rays begin a three-game series against the Houston Astros tonight, as they hope to rebound from Wednesday’s ugly performance. Joe Maddon and the Rays are definitely in crisis management mode at the moment, and it does not appear that this letdown of a season is turning around anytime soon.
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