Tonight’s game was a microcosm of the 2014 Tampa Bay Rays season. Think back to the opening game when the Rays, behind David Price beat the Toronto Blue Jays handily, 9-2. Rays Nation was excited, looking forward to another winning season. Well, tonight’s game began the same way. In the very first inning, after a two out single by Evan Longoria was followed by Wil Myers moving to second on an error, Logan Forsythe delivered a clutch single to left to drive in the first two runs of the game. Just like that, the Rays were leading the Chicago White Sox 2-0.
Starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson gave up a couple of meaningless hits through the first four innings and things were looking up. Forsythe even delivered an insurance run in the bottom of the fourth with a leadoff home run. Despite an impressive outing by Chicago’s starting pitcher, Jose Quintana, the Rays had built a comfortable 3-0 lead after four innings.
Then, just like that miserable stretch of the season at the end of May and beginning of June, where the Rays dropped ten games in a row, the bottom dropped out in the top of the fifth. Hellickson walked the Sox’ number nine hitter, Marcus Semien, to start the inning. A double followed by two singles and the Sox had pulled to within one run and still nobody was out in the inning. After a fielder’s choice got the first out, Hellickson gave up a double to Avisail Garcia driving in two more runs and giving Chicago the 4-3 lead they would not relinquish.
Brandon Gomes, C.J. Riefenhauser, Steve Geltz and Grant Balfour all did a good job in relief the rest of the way, not allowing the White Sox even the hint of a threat. But it was too little too late, just like the Rays’ efforts to rally after their horrific start.
Just like so many games this year, the Tampa Bay Rays were unable to hold a lead and lost a game that certainly was winnable. It would be good to end the season’s final homestand taking the series from Chicago. Tomorrow’s game at Tropicana Filed begins at 7:10 PM with Chris Archer taking on Hector Noesi.