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11 Losses and Counting: Rays are Swept Out of Baltimore

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This had got to be the saddest recap I have ever written.  The Tampa Bay Rays are officially in an 11 game losing streak.  This is how the Rays got swept of of Baltimore.

The first game of this series started out with a lot of promise.  The Rays were in a 7 game losing streak and they had their sights set on a win against the Baltimore Orioles.  The first inning for the Rays started out very strong.  Corey Dickerson hit a 2 run shot in his first at bat into right field to score Logan Forsythe. 2-0 Rays.  Shortly after Logan Morrison hit a sharp line drive to right that allowed Evan Longoria. 3-0 Rays.  Taylor Motter showed his skill in the outfield when he robbed Adam Jones of a home run in the 4th.  The Rays starter Matt Moore was rolling through the Orioles until the 5th inning when J.J Hardy hit a blooper to right and Chris Davis scored.  3-1 Rays.  The 6th didn’t turn out much better.  Jones was back up to bat and got the home run back that Matter robbed from him.  3-2 Rays.  When is rains it pours and on a throwing error by Forsythe, a single by Davis turned into a 3 run double as 3 more Orioles cross the plate.  5-3 Orioles.  In the 8th Manny Machado put another nail in the Rays coffin with solo shot to right and that was game.  Final score 6-3 Orioles.

W:  Tolliver (1-0) L:  Moore (3-5) S:  Britton

In the first game of this double header rookie Matt Andriese will get the start and the chance to show manager Kevin Cash he deserves a place in the starting rotation.  Andriese had a solid start with the exception of the 2nd inning when 2 runs were scored.  One on a single by Hardy and the other on a single Jones.  2-0 Orioles.  Andriese only pitched 4.2 innings before being lifted in favor of Tyler Sturdervant.  In the 6th the Orioles keep playing small ball and score another run on a single by Francisco Pena.  3-0 Orioles.  The 7th inning was no different when on a another single to right, this time hit by Pedro Alverez, score 2 more runs.  5-0 Orioles.  The Rays would be shut out of this game.  

W:  Gausman L:  Andriese

To say the Rays were looking for redemption in this 2nd game of a double header would be an understatement.  After getting shut out in game one, the team need to rest and prepare to fix what was broken if they had any hope of shutting down this Orioles lineup.  The first inning starts out strong with a home run off the bat of Morrison.  1-0 Rays.  In the 2nd the scoring continues of a solo shot by catcher Hank Conger.  2-0 Rays  The Rays kept rolling through the 3rd inning.  It started out with Desmond Jennings hitting a double to score Morrison.  3-0 Rays.  The a bases loaded walk to Conger helped create even more distance from the Orioles.  4-0 Rays.  The

Orioles started to chip away at the Rays lead is that same 3rd inning.  They continued the small ball tactics that shut the Rays out of the first game with a single from Joey Rickard to score Nolan Reimold.  4-1 Rays.  In the 4th inning the gap narrowed further when All Star catcher Matt Wieters gets a 2 run homer.  4-3 Rays.  The Rays would strike back in the 5th inning with Brad Miller hitting his 12th home run of the year and new addition Oswaldo Arcia hit a sacrifice fly ball to score Brad Miller (who got 2 at bats in this inning). 6-3 Rays.  At this point the Rays were in a position to win and had a nice 3 run buffer, but sadly the Orioles would would recover from this deficit and then some.  The onslaught of runs began in the 5th when Jones hits a single to score Rickard.  6-4 Rays.  Chris Davis would homer in the 6th.  6-5 Rays.  In the 7th, Jones hit a grounder to once again score Rickard and tie the game 6-6.  Also in the 7th Davis would be back, and single to score Jones.  7-6 Orioles.  In the 8th, Wieters gets his 2nd homer of the game.  8-6 Orioles.  This is how the game would end.  Rays fans would get ½ their online orders from Papa John’s on Sunday, but no win.  The losing streak continues.

W:  McFarland L:  Ramirez S:  Britton

Game 4 of this series puts Drew Smyly on the mound.  Will the Rays bats and Smyly get a win against Tyler Wilson and the division leading Orioles?

The first inning was a rough one for Smyly.  With bases loaded, Davis hit his 16th home run and it was a grand slam. 4-0 Orioles.  The 2nd inning Jennings get a solo home run to help the Rays start chipping away at the lead. 4-1 Orioles.  In the 2nd the small ball assault continues with a sacrifice bunt by Jones that give the Orioles another run.  5-1 Orioles.  Jonathan Schoop deals another blow to the Rays in the 3rd inning with a solo shot.  6-1 Orioles.  In the 4th and 5th inning the Rays start responding to the proposition that they may lose 11 games in a row.  Arcia homers in the 4th and Morrison continues to impress with a double to get Miller home in the 5th.  6-3 Orioles.  Later in the 5th Arica is back at bat and is proving his worth by getting a double that sends Jennings and Morrison home.  6-5 Orioles.

The Orioles were quick to respond to the Rays closing in on their lead.  Mark Trumbo homered for 2 in the 5th inning to make the score 8-5 Orioles.  In the 8th inning things only got worse for the Rays.  Richard doubled, Machado hit a line drive to center, Trumdo singled to center, and a wild pitch by Ryan Webb.  At the end of all that the Orioles were up 12-5 and the Rays were done.  That is game.

W:  Wilson (4-5) L:  Smyly (2-8)

My take aways:

I feel like the Rays need to get back to basics.  I love all the Home runs, but it’s obvious that they aren’t running games.  Small ball is where it’s at and the Rays need to refocus.  Getting men on base and getting them home should be the focus.  Singles, sacrifice flies, and bunts get the job done even though they are not as fun to watch.  As a fan I would rather see my team win, then see them him home runs and lose.  

I don’t know what to do about the Rays pitching, the starting rotation and the bullpen, but they need to be better.  The Rays use to have a dominant starting rotation and now it’s barely mediocre and even when they are good, the bullpen seems to blow it almost every time.  The reason for the starters slacking is unclear, but the bullpen is filled with young players that may just not be seasoned enough to be viable for as much as they are called on.  Additionally, the bullpen may be called upon too much.  The Orioles hit some home runs, but if you look at how many of their runs were scored, it was singles.       

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