You can point out the bright side, that at least the Rays kept the other team under 10 points and lost less than nine points, so Saturday’s 6-3 loss to the Blue Jays was actually a step up from that. in the two previous matches.
You can point out the unexpected, how a roster error made by one of their most trusted infielders, Joey Wendle, contributed to the loss. And how a bad exit from a reliever, Matt Wisler, got started well again, spoiled a good start for rookie Shane McClanahan.
And you can point out the obvious, because the Rays lost their fifth straight game, and the 12th of their last 16, and the 10th in a row on the road. They fell to 47-36 and, pending the late result for Boston, leaders AL East, potentially 5½ games behind the first.
“Frustration is a good word,” manager Kevin Cash said. “We are frustrated. These guys have set the bar pretty high for themselves. They hope to win.
“And on top of that, they expect to be in every game. We all do. There have been games that we are not really in. It’s encouraging that we got the (two) races at the end. … But we haven’t played at our level that we’ve established here for quite some time. ”
And you can point out that it’s been a team-wide funk, as they seem to be going through a cornucopia of clichés, that if it’s not one thing it’s another, as the only breaks are bad, and nothing seems to come easy.
“When the good teams start to stray a bit, I think that’s a big part of what happens,” Cash said. “Everything is amplifying. A few breaks that were going your way a lot are no longer there for you. There is no pointing finger. It’s all five that are pointed at all of us right now. We just don’t do it. But we will. ”
For a while, it looked like they might on a sunny Saturday in Buffalo, NY
McClanahan was solid, complementing his standard ’90s fastball / slider mix more generously with shifts and curves to reach for sixth with the score tied at 1, allowing only a quick home run on the first pitch. to George Springer in the second.
But after McClanahan allowed Vlad Guerrero Jr. to double at 117.3 mph and walked Springer, Cash decided 71 shots were enough against the menacing Jays lineup.
“He was great,” Cash said of McClanahan. “He really does special things on the mound for us, and he becomes this guy who every time he takes the ball he gives us a chance to win the game, and he does it in a dominant way.”
Wisler wasn’t hit hard, but it still got ugly as five points scored. A single infield loaded the basics. Then a slow on the ground to Wendle in third became a problem as he threw an off-target pitch that receiver Mike Zunino couldn’t block.
“I just didn’t perform,” Wendle said. “I think I had more time than I thought. I don’t know if I had time to take it one step further, but yes, I probably could have set foot a little more. I just cut the throw a little bit, and it took a bit of width at Z, and he wasn’t able to handle it. ”
A blooper from opposite field that landed just inside the left-field line and a two-run homer by Santiago Espinal against Wisler made it 6-1, and the Rays were once again under scoring, edging 42-17 on the five-game skid.
“I think it comes, more than anything, just running and going back to doing what we were doing the first half of the year and what got us to where we are now,” Wendle said. . “It seems like things that we’re generally pretty good at, we’re not right now. When you add to that some of the mistakes we’ve made and (a) the lack of capitalization on opportunities, I think that equates to losses. ”
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