It's fitting that the Rays reach their 10th consecutive loss on draft day, because it's best we turn our attention to the future. Drew wrote earlier this week that the Rays were entering a crucial stretch of 21 games, where 18 would be played at home.
Those first two games against the Marlins? Difficult losses. This team has fallen apart through injuries and a weakened rotation in April, then a lacking offense in May. On a day when the Rays finally scored a bunch of runs, six to be exact, the Marlins put up eleven. The day before when the ace takes the mount, the offense scores four (including a late rally), but the Marlins score five.
According to Rays Radio: Entering Thursday the Rays bullpen had pitched to a 2.52 ERA since May 15th. on this day, the relievers allowed seven runs in four innings. That includes a Jake McGee implosion, he who had not allowed a run since April 28th. Radio has all the fun facts.
Are the Rays terrible? They're probably average for the division and fighting through difficult circumstances. If this year got a chance to play itself over again, things might break differently. Instead the Rays are bottom feeding and we're looking for the brighter aspects instead.
But first, a recap:
Jake Odorizzi made his way through the first five innings while allowing only three runs. McGee allowed the next three before the sixth was over. The Rays responded with RBI by Matt Joyce and his eventual replacement after he's traded, Jerry Sands.
Also among the Rays' thirteen hits this afternoon were homeruns by Kevin "The Future" Kiermaier, and Ben "The Past" Zobrist. Kidding, of course. This was Zobrist's second homerun in the last two days, but Kiermaier was indeed outstanding, including two extra base hits and never failing to reach in every at bat.
Brad Boxberger started the seventh with three hits, including a Giancarlo Stanton longball to notch three more runs for the fish (his first runs allowed in 22 days). Maddon sent Peralta (two strikeouts!) and Balfour out for the seventh and eighth to keep things close, but then Josh Lueke ate garbage in the ninth (two hits and a longball to nail the coffin shut). For the Marlins, someone named J.T. Realmuto had three RBI in his major league debut, while someone else named Marcell Ozuna batted four of his own (two off Lueke).
So what is the bright side?
Boxberger and McGee gave up runs, but Odorizzi held his own for the majority of frames, and the former two had not performed this poorly (read: allowed a run) in a combined 59 days. On the offensive side, the Rays had six players reach base at least twice, and Kiermaier performed well.
- I'd dive into defense, but again, this was a radio game for me due to work conflicting with 4:00 PM start times.
- Marlins manager Mike Redmond would be ejected in the seventh for arguing a fairball.
- Before the game, the Rays held a moment of silence for longtime coach Don Zimmer, and as fans lifted cardboard cutout faces of the baseball great, Longoria wept.
It's important to remember this is just a game. A game played by very real people.
God Speed, Zimbear. You are missed.