The bullpen, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon said, is tired.
And that’s never a good thing anytime, especially today when those tired arms have to reassemble at Tropicana Field for a matinee that followed another late-night marathon.
The Rays lost 6-4 in 12 innings Wednesday to the Minnesota Twins in a game that lasted 4 hours, 48 minutes.
More importantly, those in the crowd of 11,993 that stuck around to the end saw Maddon call for six relievers. There would have seen a seventh – Juan Carlos Oviedo – had the game continued to the 13th inning, but a two-run single by Chris Colabello off Josh Lueke was enough to send everyone home just before midnight.
“You definitely need some innings out of Bedard (today). That’s a big part of (today),” Maddon said.
Maddon was referring to Erik Bedard, who faces the Twins this afternoon in the finale of this homestand.
Brandon Gomes and Lueke are likely unavailable this afternoon. Closer Grant Balfour could be down, too, having pitched two innings in the loss.
Unless the Rays dipped into Triple-A Durham’s bullpen, the Rays will take the field today with a short bullpen. That could pose a problem since the bullpen has been getting a lot of work lately.
In the nine games since Alex Cobb went on the disabled list April 13, the Rays ’pen has pitched 39 1/3 innings, which is an average of more than 4 1/3 innings per game.
Playing a pair of 12-inning games this week doesn’t help, and the Rays are very fortunate to get a complete game out of David Price on Tuesday.
Of course, a timely hit here or there, or a longer outing from starter Jake Odorizzi, would have drastically altered the outcome of Wednesday’s loss.
Odorizzi, who struck out five straight between the first and second innings, didn’t record an out in the fourth inning. He allowed a two-run homer to Colabello that tied the score 2-2 then loaded the bases with a pair of singles and a walk before giving way to Brandon Gomes.
“Not enough fastball primarily,” Maddon said of Odorizzi’s struggles. “He was trying to trick them a little bit too soon, and when you throw your offspeed too often sometimes early, then it can lead to problems, because he had a good fastball.”
Gomes allowed a sacrifice fly that put the Twins ahead. Sam Fuld made it a 4-2 game with an RBI single. The former Ray, making his debut with the Twins, received a nice ovation from the crowd before his first at-bat of the game.
Fuld almost helped put an end to the game a few innings earlier when he doubled past first baseman James Loney to start the ninth inning.
Balfour, pitching the first of his two innings, got out of that jam with a double-play ground ball.
The Rays bullpen pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings before Colabello’s hit off Lueke in the 12th.
“We did pitch extremely well,” Maddon said. “When you play a game like that you lose it at the end, obviously, but you pitched and played so well to win that game. We should have won that game. We’ve lost two games during this homestand that we could have put in the win column, and those are the kinds of things that you really have to get beyond.”
The Rays scored their four runs on sacrifice flies by Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist, an infield single by Evan Longoria and a ground-ball out by Joyce.
They left two runners on base in the third inning, stranded runners at first and third in the fifth and sixth innings and left the bases loaded in the ninth when Wil Myers grounded out to shortstop for the third out.
“They’re very frustrating,” Myers said of the missed opportunities. “We can’t come through, as a team it (stinks) any time you lose but to lose in extra innings is even tougher.”
In all, the Rays were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners on base.
“We did some really good things offensively,” Maddon said. “It just did not translate into enough runs.”