Tampa Bay Rays
Rookies can't get it done as Rays drop twin bill in Boston
BOSTON - If it weren't for Wil Myers making his big-league debut, Tuesday would have been an otherwise forgettable day for the Tampa Bay Rays.
They played two games against the Red Sox at Fenway Park and lost them both, mustering a pair of runs in the process.
The storylines were familiar:
Chris Archer had an unspectacular performance in the afternoon game, which the Rays lost 5-1.
Jake Odorizzi, called up to from Triple-A Durham to work the nightcap, turned in his best performance of the season, but the Rays' offense was, once again, nowhere to be found. The result was a 3-1 loss that ended on a two-run homer by former Ray Jonny Gomes in the bottom of the ninth inning.
“We needed to pitch two shutouts to pretty much get something done,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “We have to do better offensively.”
The Rays were trying to become the first team since 1927 to sweep a doubleheader at Fenway Park while starting rookie pitchers in both games. It didn't happen, but the reason wasn't so much youth as a lack of offensive support.
The Rays had just 10 hits on the day and finished a combined 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
The Rays lost for the eighth time in their past 10 games and fell to 2-9 this season against the AL East-leading Red Sox.
“They got us,” Maddon said. “We have to figure them out. They have won a lot of close games against us to their credit. Everything's been tight. It's going to be tight the rest of the season regardless of what happened to this point. It can and will turn back to us.”
The Rays trailed 1-0 in the night game after Daniel Nava's second-inning home run against Odorizzi. It was Odorizzi's lone blemish as he went 5 2/3 innings — the longest outing of his three starts this season with the Rays.
Kelly Johnson, dropped to ninth in the order, homered off Boston closer Andrew Bailey to start the nint. It was Johnson's 11th home run and first since May 27 against Miami.
Maddon called for Joel Peralta to pitch the ninth, and Peralta walked Nava ahead of Gomes.
“I think that got him off kilter a little bit,” Maddon said. “Had he not done that I really believe he would have made better pitches to Gomes. He was just up and off.”
Gomes homered off one of the billboards above the Green Monster in left field on the first pitch from Peralta. It was his third homer off Peralta in their past four meetings.
When asked if Peralta's recent struggles against Gomes were a concern, Maddon said, “Yes and no. Joel is very capable of getting him out. He just made a bad pitch right there, and Jonny kept it fair.”
The Rays had only four hits in the game, three off Felix Doubront, who pitched a season-high eight innings.
One of those hits was a second-inning single by Myers, who joined the team Tuesday to add some punch to an offense that has suddenly gone punchless.
“Unfortunately, offenses can be that way,” Johnson said. “We started out the year similar to that, so I think we're all confident about getting it back, hopefully sooner rather than it taking any more time. We're looking for ways to get it going, for sure.”
The Rays were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position in the first game, which was delayed 2 hours, 58 minutes by rain in the bottom of the fifth.
That one hit was an RBI double by Luke Scott in the second that scored Evan Longoria and moved James Loney to third. Jose Molina walked to load the bases, and it appeared the Rays had Alfredo Aceves on the ropes. But Aceves, who has been quite good against the Rays during his career, escaped the jam when he got Yunel Escobar to bounce into an inning-ending double play.
“We're not able to get that big hit with runners in scoring position right now,” Maddon said. “When we were rolling, everybody was getting the big hits when they counted.”