The pillar of the Rays success over the past four seasons has been pitching and defense. With the budget they roll with they're never going to be able to sign high priced offensive talent, so it's the only means to success they have. Lately the pitching has been stellar but the defense has been lacking, with last night as a prime example. Couple that with the lack of offense and it's taking a toll.
The Rays were able to weather the storm early on with all of the injuries, but lately the effect has been more evident. They haven't scored more than four runs in seven straight games. The same thing could have happened even with Evan Longoria and Desmond Jennings in the lineup, but I wouldn't bet on it. Even the loss of Jeff Keppinger is having a bigger effect than was originally thought. They're currently two games out of first but not so far removed from last place in the stacked A.L. East. The patchwork offense and defense needs to tough it out a little bit longer.