Despite his team being caught in its second-worst losing streak Thursday night, Tampa Bay Rays slugger Brandon Lowe saw no point in panicking as the shortened season plays out through its final weeks of games.
Following the club’s 4-3 loss to Boston — a loss that was rare because it was to the Red Sox and by one run — Lowe stated that the American League East-leading Rays had played enough good baseball to hold their spot atop the standings and he believed they could start winning again soon.
Three consecutive losses and dropping a game to a division foe his team had beaten five out of six times wasn’t even enough to deter Lowe, who leads Tampa Bay (29-16) with 11 home runs.
“I think we’re still in a good position,” said Lowe of his club, which lost a season-high five straight from July 29 to Aug. 2. “There’s no reason to start stressing and freaking out. It’s been a couple of games that’ve been bad, but I think we’ve proven that we’re not going to keep losing ball games.”
The Rays put it all together Friday night and broke their three-game losing streak in an 11-1 romp over the Red Sox, who they will face for the ninth time Saturday night in the third game of the four-game series in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Starter Blake Snell worked 5 1/3 scoreless innings, and the offense woke up with a 12-hit attack that slugged three home runs, including two by Nate Lowe.
In 12 career starts, Snell (4-1) improved to 7-3 in his career against the Red Sox and lowered his ERA to 2.59 against them, while the team improved to 16-4 when hitting more than one homer in a game.
“Blake and the overall offense and at-bats, even the guys who didn’t get hits, they had good swings. We were picking each other up,” said Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash, whose club has won six of eight against Boston and is 22-11 against the AL East.
The sixth-year manager started only left-handed hitters without any switch-hitters — the first time that had happened dating back to at least 1901. Cash also didn’t pinch hit or substitute for any of the nine batters as the Rays’ starters recorded 35 at-bats — all from the left side.
Cash will start Tyler Glasnow (2-1, 4.35 ERA), who has 66 strikeouts over a 39 1/3 innings in eight starts — a whopping 15.1 Ks per game. The flamethrower is 1-1 with a 4.56 in five career starts against the AL East foe.
The Red Sox (16-30) produced 11 hits Friday night but didn’t manage to put their lone run on the board until the ninth when breakout rookie Bobby Dalbec doubled in Jackie Bradley Jr.
However, the club was productive the only time it faced Glasnow this season on Aug. 13 in Boston. They touched up the 6-foot-8 right-handed Californian for five runs and eight hits in only four innings, though the Rays left Fenway Park with a 17-8 victory.
The Red Sox will trot out their own hard-throwing righty Saturday when Nathan Eovaldi (2-2, 4.98 ERA) returns to the mound to make his first appearance since Aug. 21. He is 2-5 with a 5.66 ERA in nine appearances (seven starts) against Tampa Bay.
Eovaldi will be making his first appearance since being sidelined with a right calf strain.
Manager Ron Roenicke has been impressed with the arms on the Tampa Bay staff.
“Their pitching is outstanding,” Roenicke stated. “Their starters are good. Their relievers are good. That’s what puts you in an elite class.”
–Field Level Media