The Tampa Bay Rays suffered the second-straight wild card exit after losing to the Texas Rangers in two games at Tropicana Field. Within those two games, Tampa Bay managed to score just one run.
This would be the theme that defined this series for the Rays. A year ago against the Cleveland Guardians, they struggled to put runs together in a wild card loss and the same result was apparent in Tropicana Field against Texas.
Throughout the entire length of the two games, the Rays went 14-for-65 (.215) at the plate. One would believe that 14 hits is a solid mark through two games of baseball and this is true, but it was when the Rays got runners in scoring position that hurt them the most.
In Game 2 in particular, the Rays went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position and this trend was also apparent in Game 1 where the team went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position. This low number does not necessarily create a winning formula in the postseason.
It was an odd thing for the Rays to do this as they had been a pretty decent team with runners on second and third this season. According to Baseball Reference, they were top five in major league baseball with average when runners are in scoring position.
Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash summed up the offensive woes in a postgame interview following game two. "Our bats did not really come to life. They [Texas Rangers] pitched really well."
It was a brief answer, but the two Rangers' starters, Jordan Montgomery and Nathan Eovaldi, pitched combined clean sheets through 13.2 innings and threw 13 strikeouts to boot.
It is another quick exit for the Tampa Bay Rays in the wild card round as they turn the page and look toward the 2024 season.