ST. PETERSBURG — Bobby Henry, a Seminole Tribe elder and medicine man, was called in Monday by manager Joe Maddon to see if he can fix the Tampa Bay Rays.
“As they say in Spanish, ‘Por qué no?’ ” Maddon said before the game.
Known as “The Rainmaker” for his ability to make it rain during a drought, Henry walked around Tropicana Field before the game against the Seattle Mariners.
He sat in the Rays’ clubhouse and in the Rays’ dugout. Henry sprinkled water on the field and in the clubhouse, and lit a small fire in the parking lot.
And it rained hard over the Trop when the game began.
As for the game, final score: Seattle 3, Tampa Bay 0.
“We had a medicine man in here sprinkling water on people’s chairs. That didn’t work,” starter David Price said. “I don’t know. It’s time for something crazy to go on in the clubhouse.”
Henry plans a return visit Sunday.
“Sweet,” Price said.
There’s nothing sweet happening at the Trop these days if you wear the home whites.
Monday’s loss was the 13th in the last 14 games for the Rays. It was the fourth time the Rays have been shutout this season and the seventh time in franchise history they’ve been blanked in back-to-back games.
“At some point we have to get our bats alive,” Maddon said. “I’m sure from above it looks like the guys were a little bit listless, but they’re not. They’re just not hitting.”
The Rays have the worst record in baseball at 24-41, which Maddon and Price readily agreed they have earned.
“We probably do deserve it,” Price said. “We haven’t played up to our capability and our standards, really.”
Price, who struck out 10 and walked one in eight innings, had one bad inning, and that was the third when Robinson Cano muscled an opposite-field double to left field with the bases loaded to score two runs. The Mariners added another run on a groundout to second, and that was the game.
The offense managed five hits against Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez (5.97 ERA) and four relievers, the last being Fernando Rodney, who earned his 18th save with a perfect ninth inning.
The Rays were 0-for-7 wth runners in scoring position. They are 0-for-13 with RISP in their last two games. They have just 10 hits in their last 95 at-bats with a RISP.
This would be a good time for the manager to shake up the lineup, except Maddon does that on a daily basis.
“I think we have tried A to Z,” Maddon said. “I’m not (picking a lineup) out of a hat.”
The Rays’ last chance at a rally took place in the seventh inning, when Kevin Kiermaier doubled with one out and Evan Longoria walked. James Loney, who leads the team in RBI, hit into a double play.
“At the end of the day, we have to keep pounding on the offense so they can cover some of our gaps, whether it’s on defense or a bad pitch, and start scoring some more consistent runs, which is also going to lift our spirits,” Maddon said.
For the time being, that’s Henry’s job. The 77-year-old medicine man said before the game he was up for the challenge.
“That field, not so bad. I walked around. I don’t think it’s real bad, you know? We just have to open, just key opening and let (the bad spirits) out,” Henry said. “We’ll see what happens this time. I told Joe I’ll come back Sunday.”
Maddon noticed the rain that pounded the stadium during the first inning. A quick check of the local radar showed one rain storm in the area — centered directly above the Trop.
“We did ask Bobby for more hits. Maybe he thought I said, ‘More rain,’ ” Maddon said. “Let’s be patient with this. Let’s give it more time. But it was an intense rain, and from what I understand it was right over the Trop. That’s pretty solid.”
The Rainmaker brought some rain.
“Maybe it’s cleansing rain,” Maddon said.