Rays bats calm down along the expanse as Guardians gain ground

Street. PETERSBURG – Same old story. The rays landed quietly on Friday night. But there is noise in the rearview mirror.

The Rays were lifeless again, falling 4-1 to Cleveland in front of 14,671 fans at Tropicana Field. The Guardians pulled off 1 1/2 games from the Rays for the third and final place in the MLS playoffs.

How do Rays go on attack that totaled only 16 kicks and hit only 228 in their last seven games?

“I don’t know,” said Kevin Cash, Director of Rice Corporation. “If I had the answer, we would have already given it. Stay positive and trust the guys who will get out of this.

“We have to get it out together. It’s not one person, not one person trying to do too much. It has to be a fairly team approach so that we can put more pressure on the shooters and hopefully get some results.”

Rays let Cleveland’s right-handed Shane Bieber (5-6) off the hook after 26 first runs. Rays only got one run and left the rules loaded. After that, Bieber turned off the lights.

Reyes’ Jeffrey Springs (3-3) left-handed 402-foot two-wheeler surrendered to Jose Ramirez with two fifth-inning wins, giving Cleveland a 3-1 lead they wouldn’t lose. Steve Kwan had earmarked and stole second place, offering an open base, but Cash said he’s not considering walking with Ramirez.

“There’s a stinging taste in my mouth the way it ended up,” Springs said. “You should keep us in the ball game out there. I feel like (Ramirez Homer) was a divider. Their man (Bieber) was going in a rhythm, getting better and better. I have to leave that game 1-1. He has to be better.”

Randy Arrozarina leaves the field frustrated on strike during the eighth inning. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

Springs said he put a slider “in his ring” and Ramirez delivered it as expected.

Hats off to him; I should better understand who is standing at the plate and do a better job. It should be a better site. He’s not the guy I want to hit me.”

“They stole a base and we’re confident Springs will put in a show,” Cash said. “The slider was down. (Ramirez) has proven during his career that he can handle good pitches.”

The 3-1 deficit in the fifth game was hardly insurmountable. With Rai’s misfortunes lately, it definitely looked that way. The Rays had their fourth inning chance when Yandy Diaz, the hottest hitter on the team, came in, with two runners in the scoring position and two naysayers. But Diaz bounced back to shortstop.

Want more than just a score box?

Want more than just a score box?

Subscribe to the free Radiology Report newsletter

Columnist John Romano will send out the latest radiology insights and analysis to keep you updated weekly through the season.

You are all registered!

Want more of our free weekly newsletter in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

“This pitch cheated me a bit and I couldn’t connect properly,” Diaz said via team interpreter Mane Navarro. “Every team goes into this slump. Right now, we are stuck in that moment.”

Diaz’s floor exercise began a series of 14 consecutive hitters from Reyes who were retired by Cleveland (and only two balls left the field). Meanwhile, The Guardians tackled the song Ramirez, who was twice out of the RBI at number seven.

The Rays (53-47), only 2-6 since the All-Star break, have hit three runs (or fewer) in six of their last seven games.

Rays broke through the gate and took a 1-0 lead in the first half on Ji-Man Choi RBI’s single. But after they loaded the bases with two directors, Bieber hit Christian Bethancourt.

“After that, Bieber definitely settled down,” Cash said. “He got a lot of pitch and didn’t have a good sense of the hit area at first. After that, he became fastball where he wanted to.”

Cleveland finished fourth when Andres Jimenez produced an RBI double—the third straight ball to hit hard from Springs in the inning (including Owen Miller’s double and Franmel Reyes’ sacrifice).

The Rays missed their chance to regain their lead at the bottom of the fourth. Josh Lowe tallied and was fired in Bethancourt’s attempt. With two wins, Yu Chang singles out and advances both players on Bieber’s doorstep, giving Rayes two of the runners’ scoring position. But Diaz could not produce.

And this was it.

• • •

Subscribe to the weekly Rays Report newsletter to get fresh perspectives on the Tampa Bay Rays and the rest of the majors from sports columnist John Romano.

Don’t miss the latest news with college sports from Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida College and more. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team at Twitter and Facebook.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: