Coming off the All-Star break, the Rays saw their worst week since early May, complete with a sweep at home.
Last weekend, the Rays took 2-of-3 from the Angels in Los Angeles. By continuing their hot streak and jumping ahead of the Yankees for second place, it seemed that the four days of rest were beneficial. Starting off this week, going to Oakland and winning another series kept the momentum going strong.
Unfortunately, things changed once they returned home from the west.
After the L.A. series, Tampa Bay arrived in Oakland for the back-end of their six game California trip. Going in at 49-44, the Rays were focused on maintaining their wildcard lead over New York, while staying hot on the hells of Boston.
The momentum carried through, as the Rays won another series after taking 2-of-3 from Oakland. At the end of the series, aside from dropping the third game, Tampa Bay the outright second place team in the A.L. East.
Steven Souza Jr. went 2-for-8 in the series. But, those two hits he collected, left the field. So while batting .250 is not ideally what he would have preferred, two home runs help soften that blow.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 18, 2017
Alex Colome collected two more saves in Oakland, giving him three during the west coast trip and taking him to 28 on the season. Adam Kolarek picked up his first career win Tuesday, after seeing one batter and throwing only five pitches.
Jacob Faria, who posted seven straight quality starts to start his career, suffered his first loss on Wednesday. In his shortest appearance of the season so far, Faria went only 5.0 innings and allowed a career-high four runs and four walks. Upside-he is still just 4-1 with a 2.52 ERA.
FINAL: Oakland 7, #Rays 2
Rays finish the road trip 4-2 to wrap up their best two-city roadie since July 2014. pic.twitter.com/a1G1JhB1Hq
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 19, 2017
Tim Beckham struggled in Oakland. In his two starts, he went 0-for-6 with two strikeouts. In the loss Wednesday, four Rays batters were held hitless, including the entire bottom third of the lineup.
Taking 2-of-3 meant the Rays were now six games over .500 at 51-45. Far ahead of where they were the same time last season. But, the Rays were heading home riding the coattails of a loss.
For more on this series, click here.
After 10 days away from home, Tampa Bay returned to Tropicana Field Friday for three games against Texas, finishing off nine-game stretch against A.L. West teams.
Friday night, the Rays relied on the long ball for all of their scoring. Corey Dickerson (18), Brad Miller (4), and Mallex Smith (2) hit solo home runs that accounted for all three runs for Tampa Bay.
Tie game, thanks Brad! pic.twitter.com/zPwh23a4RS
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 22, 2017
The Rays were swept. For the fourth time this season. But, this was their first sweep at home, as the others came in Seattle, New York, and Boston.
Brad Boxberger suffered his first two losses of the season on Friday and Sunday. After putting up zeros in his first six appearances since returning from injury, Boxberger allowed three total home runs combined in this series. Moving to 2-2, his ERA jumped from 0.00 to 4.91 over the weekend.
Jake Odorizzi, who struggled early on but lately had found his form, reverted backwards as he lasted only 4.0 innings Sunday. Giving up three runs on four hits, Odorizzi allowed two home runs, taking him to 21 allowed on the season. His career high is 29…and it’s not even August.
The sweep put the Rays back in third place, a half game behind the Yankees. Tampa Bay is hopeful that newly acquired Sergio Romo can bring some life back into a deflated pitching staff.
The Rays have three more games at home starting Monday, as Baltimore returns to Tropicana Field. After that, the team travels to Yankee Stadium for a four-game series that could turn out to be the most crucial match-up of the season so far, as both teams jockey for second place.
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