1:58 AM EDT, August 27, 2014
MLB Team Report - Tampa Bay Rays - INSIDE PITCH
BALTIMORE -- Offense has been a problem for the Tampa Bay Rays all season long. The pitching and defense have been solid, but the Rays simply can't get hits at the right time or score enough.
Those problems have come up again in the first two games of this crucial four-game set in Baltimore. The Orioles won both, but the Rays had their chances, especially in Tuesday's 4-2 loss at Oriole Park.
The Rays banged out six hits in the first two innings, but had two runners thrown out at home and scored just once. Then they loaded the bases in the sixth in a 2-2 tie, but Tampa Bay came up empty again as the Orioles nailed another runner at the plate, this time on a force play.
Coming into this game, the Rays were hitting just .245 with runners in scoring position. They went only 2-for-6 and left nine on Tuesday.
"Opportunity, opportunity, opportunity and then nothing happens," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It's the same refrain -- inability to score with runners in scoring position. Bases loaded has not been a good play for us either and explanation for that I don't have. It's called baseball. Probably next year we will be like the best team in all of baseball."
The Rays need to find more consistency on offense before they can move up to the next level. They have certainly got the pitching and defense.
But in the last few years, finding the hitting has been a mystery Tampa Bay just can't solve.
MLB Team Report - Tampa Bay Rays - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Lost two
NEXT: Rays (LHP Drew Smyly, 8-10, 3.44 ERA) at Orioles (RHP Kevin Gausman, 7-5, 3.81 ERA)
--RHP Alex Cobb also struggled Tuesday, and manager Joe Maddon pulled Cobb after four innings. Cobb gave up two runs on only three hits and struck out six, but he walked three and needed 92 pitches to get that far. "Ninety-three [pitches] after four [innings] was plenty," Maddon said. "He may have gotten through the fifth. Then, you got to worry about getting guys in."
--DH Evan Longoria drove in both Tampa Bay runs in Tuesday's loss. Longoria, battling a stiff elbow, got an RBI single in the first and a run-scoring double four innings later. It just wasn't enough in this one. "We got to win," Longoria said. "I think in that effort we just have to continue to put together good at-bats offensively and do whatever we can do to make those opportunities count."
--LF Ben Zobrist broke a brief 0-for-4 slide with his first-inning double Tuesday night. He later scored the first Tampa Bay run and scored the other one also. Zobrist now 225 career doubles, tops in franchise history, three ahead of DH Evan Longoria.
--CF Desmond Jennings had a busy night after manager Joe Maddon gave him a day of rest on Monday. Jennings went 2-for-4, and his second hit nearly scored a run, but C Ryan Hanigan got thrown out at home by CF Adam Jones. In the sixth, Jennings hit a slow roller with the bases loaded that 3B Chris Davis picked up and threw home for a force play that kept the game tied.
--C Ryan Hanigan was activated off the 15-day disabled list (left oblique strain) and played in Tuesday's game. He missed 38 games and was placed on the DL on July 17 retroactive to July 9. Hanigan went 1-for-3 in Tuesday's 4-2 loss against the Orioles.
--C Curt Casali was optioned to Class A Charlotte to make room for Ryan Hanigan. Casall batted .169 in 23 games but drew praise from manager Joe Maddon before the game as the skipper said the Rays liked a lot of what they saw from him.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We've got to win. We just have to continue to put together good at-bats offensively and do whatever we can do to make those opportunities count." - Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria after the Rays failed to get the key hits in a 4-2 loss to Baltimore on Tuesday.
MLB Team Report - Tampa Bay Rays - ROSTER REPORT
--DH Evan Longoria (elbow stiffness) started as the designated hitter on Aug. 26 because of the elbow problem. Longoria might DH again Aug. 27.
--RF Kevin Kiermaier (stiff neck) did not play Aug. 25, but manager Joe Maddon didn't think the ailment was serious.
--C Ryan Hanigan (left oblique strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 9. He ran the bases and caught a bullpen session July 25. Hanigan began a rehab assignment with Class A Charlotte on Aug. 2. After the one game, the Rays announced they were shutting him down. He took batting practice Aug. 19, and he resumed his rehab assignment with Charlotte on Aug. 22. He played a full game with Charlotte on Aug. 24, and he came off the disabled list Aug. 26.
--DH David DeJesus (fractured left hand) went on the 15-day disabled list June 19. As of July 29, he still was unable to swing a bat. He began a rehab assignment in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League on Aug. 16, but he experienced some soreness. DeJesus restarted his rehab assignment with Class A Charlotte on Aug. 20.
--INF/OF Jerry Sands (strained tendon in left wrist) went on the 15-day disabled list June 23, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on Aug. 20. He underwent season-ending surgery July 22.
--LHP Matt Moore (left elbow surgery in April 2014) went on the 15-day disabled list April 8, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 27. He is out for the season.
RHP Chris Archer
RHP Jake Odorizzi
RHP Alex Cobb
RHP Jeremy Hellickson
LHP Drew Smyly
LHP Jake McGee (closer)
RHP Joel Peralta
RHP Kirby Yates
RHP Grant Balfour
RHP Brad Boxberger
LHP Cesar Ramos
LHP Jeff Beliveau
1B James Loney
2B Logan Forsythe
SS Yunel Escobar
3B Evan Longoria
INF/OF Sean Rodriguez
LF Matt Joyce
CF Desmond Jennings
RF Ben Zobrist
OF Wil Myers
OF Kevin Kiermaier
OF Brandon Guyer
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