The Tampa Bay Rays (75-57) have really struggled this week and now head to Oakland to face the Athletics (75-58). The Athletics are a half-game back of Rays in the wild-card picture. This is a big series as Tampa Bay can't afford to lose any more ground to the Boston Red Sox (79-56); as they are now two and a half games back in the AL East. The Rays are on 1-4 skid in their last five games as they are coming off losing a series at home against the Los Angeles Angels (60-72). The Rays will see the Angels again on this ten game road trip they are starting this weekend so hopefully they can return the favor.
Jake Odorizzi was called up for a start on Thursday as Jeremy Hellickson was sent down to the minors due to his recent struggles. Jake pitched well on the hill for the Rays at Tropicana Field against the Angels only giving up two runs. But the Rays' offense couldn't produce any runs and were shutout 2-0. The Rays had their chances but could not find that timely hit as this has become the problem in August. This was the first series the Rays had dropped at home since mid-June.
Chris Archer looked fantastic on Wednesday and Tampa Bay was able to pick up the win 4-1. It was not exactly pretty offensively but Rays' batters were able to move the runners over and that's all you have to do. Tampa Bay had productive outs and good at bats with runners in scoring position and this allowed for them to take the victory on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the Rays' bullpen blew it up big time. Tampa Bay busted out to a big 5-1 lead but failed to bring home the win. The Rays have now blown 15 games when winning in the seventh inning or later. Jake McGee and Fernando Rodney could not hit their location off the mound and gave up the 5-1 lead and eventually lost 6-5. Jose Molina had a good day at the plate racking up three RBIs and two doubles on the day but it didn't matter in the end. The Rays also got killed in Kansas City on Monday against the Royals to start this slide they are now riding.
The Rays will head to Los Angeles to take on the Angels and then to Seattle to face the Mariners (60-73) following this series this weekend as they start their ten game road trip out west. Tampa Bay needs to keep this race close and stay at no more than 2.5 games back of the Red Sox as they will battle them in mid-September at the Trop. The Rays need to allow themselves to have a chance at home against the Red Sox for a sweep and opportunity to take first place. The Rays must have a short memory and start fresh out west. This is a big road trip so hopefully the Rays can kick it back in the right gear with David Price on the mound on Friday night.