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Has Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore made himself too valuable to trade away?

For a while, Matt Moore was pitching well enough for another team to be interested in him.

These days, Moore is pitching well enough to stay.

Despite trade rumors, Moore pitched well again Monday, allowing the Tampa Bay Rays to win 4-2 over the Los Angeles Angels, 4-2. It was the sixth straight game Moore had pitched six innings or more. It evened his record at 5-5 and was the first time he has won back to back games (with no no-decisions in between) since 2013.

Moore has allowed three runs or fewer in 12 of his last 14 starts.

“I think in the earlier innings I was searching for a little bit of command there, in general, with all my pitches,” Moore said. “I think I could’ve been better before I got myself into some of those situations, like the hit-by-pitch, or walking [Mike] Trout. But I think overall the adjustments in- game and being able to work with the defense there to get out of some of those innings when they were threatening.”

The Rays, winning for only the third time in their last 19 games, got two RBI from first baseman Logan Morrison on a home run and a single. Brad Miller also had two hits, including a home run. Steven Souza had two hits as well.

“Feels good to get a win,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash. “Kinda difficult to come by these days, so it’s nice. Matt Moore set the tone; he threw the ball really well. If you go back to Matt’s last three or four ballgames, he’s just been outstanding. You take away one inning in Baltimore that got away from us a little bit, other than that he’s given us every opportunity to keep games within reach and win ballgames. He’s on a really good run; that’s great to see.”

For the Rays, rookie Ryan Garton had his first save.

“Obviously, the back end of the bullpen today, to come into that situation, we’re asking some guys we know aren’t accustomed to doing things like that at the major league level,” Cash said. “Hopefully Ryan Garton’s got a smile ear-to-ear and doesn’t wipe it off all night. Really happy for him.”

In his last appearance, Garton gave up four straight hits as the Rays’ gave up eight runs to blow a 7-2 lead in the ninth.

“I got the opportunity and was super excited that I did my job, and we got a win as a team. Being able to get the win as a team is a huge thing right now. To get this team back on the winning train is nice.”

Jake Odorizzi pitches for the Rays Tuesday against the Angels’ Tim Lincecum.

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Tampa Bay Rays lose yet again to Tigers despite solid start by Chris Archer

Even when they get unusually good starting pitching, the day ends in the usual disappointment for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Despite getting one of Chris Archer’s finest starts – 5 2/3 of three-hit, shutout baseball – the Rays’ bullpen faltered again in a 5-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers. It concluded the first half of the season at 33-48. The Rays have won only two of their last 18 games.

Tampa Bay has given up at least five runs in all but two of those 18 games.

“I can’t help but feel really good about what Chris Archer did today,” said manager Kevin Cash.  “He looked like he kicked it in gear and kind of showed up the Archer we know he’s very capable of being. That was an outstanding effort, an outstanding performance for him to even come remotely close to getting his pitch count back in order the way he did after the first, I believe he had 50 pitches the first two innings. You don’t foresee guys going that deep like he did. Just an outstanding effort by Arch

“We can’t help but to be excited about his individual outing. The loss is frustrating, as they all are, but the outing that Chris provided— and a lot of our starters recently have done a nice job—we’re just coming up short maybe at the end of ball games.”

The Rays led 1-0 going into the eighth inning, but the Tigers scored three times in the eighth and two more in the ninth. In the eighth, a groundout by Victor Martinez scored the tying run. Justin Upton’s double then gave the Tigers the lead.

A two-run homer by Ian Kinsler was the big blow.

“I really didn’t change anything,” Archer said. “It’s just 18 pitches in, I was a lot better than the first 18 pitches. It’s frustrating, but it’s definitely not something I dwell on. It does alter the course of the game and makes the bullpen come in earlier than need be, but I don’t beat myself up over it. It’s just, for some reason, the first 10 of 15 pitches just haven’t been ideal for me. But a day like today, it’s not something I beat myself up over because you have to move forward, and you have to give the team your best after all that stuff happens and I think I did a decent job of that today.”

Tampa Bay managed only six hits for the day.

Matt Moore starts for the Rays today against the Los Angeles Angels.

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Tigers win again as Tampa Bay loses their 15th game in 17 decisions

Every day feels the same. Every song sounds the same. Every loss feels the same.

That’s what it’s like for the Tampa Bay Rays, a team stuck in Grounghog Day.

The Rays – surprise, surprise – lost another game Saturday afternoon, their 15th loss in their last 17 games. It dropped the team to 14 games under .500, a two-year low. This time, it was only 3-2, and the battered bullpen didn’t give up a run. Still, the Rays lost as Blake Snell fell to the Detroit Tigers’  Justin Verlander.

“We got beat by a really good pitcher who had really good stuff today. He attacked, game plan you could kind of tell from the side he had the location to do it,” said manager Kevin Cash. “He selected some certain hitters that were willing maybe to expand up in the zone and then some that were expanding down in the zone, so he definitely made it tough. There wasn’t a ton of hard contact; the ones that were seemed to find, the atom balls (hit at-em) right at some guys.”

Each team had only five hits. The big blow for the Tigers was a home run by Ian Kinsley.

Cash said that fans have yet to see the best of pitcher Blake Snell.

“We still [have] yet to have seen the best of Blake,” Cash said. “He’s given us a chance to win, there’s no doubt; but the way we’re playing right now, it’s tough to overcome some of those runs. … There’s some positives with Blake. Generally you see a young pitcher that doesn’t have good stuff, doesn’t have command and just implodes. He’s not doing that. He’s battling through a lack of command and I think that shows quite a lot about the pitcher.”

Snell agreed he has more to give.

“I would agree,” he said. “There is a lot more I have to offer. At the same time, I have to be confident in the zone, I have to pound the zone, that’s something I need to work on.”

Today, Chris Archer pitches for the Rays against Mike Pelfrey.

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Tigers beat up on on Tampa Bay, bullpen once again in easy victory

Things are going so badly for the Tampa Bay Rays’ bullpen these days that they turned to an infielder Friday night.

The Rays, being bashed by the Detroit Tigers, let infielder Taylor Motter finished the game up. And at least Motter kept the baseball inside the park, as opposed to other Rays’ pitchers who gave up a pair of three-run homers to Victor Martinez.

The Tigers, who scored eight runs in the ninth on Thursday night, scored 10 on 14 hits. The Rays scored twice in the ninth and had only four hits.

The Rays are 2-14 over their last 16 games (since June 16). The bullpen has a 9.74 ERAover that span and has allowed runs in 15 of those 16 games.

“I think the bullpen right now is in a rut,” said manager Kevin Cash. “The home runs are beating us up, especially when they’re coming with guys on base. You give up two three-run homers, you’re making it really difficult to win games and you’re making it really difficult to get back in the ballgame, so somehow we’ve got to prevent a little bit of both—the baserunners and also the home run. We need to make some better pitches. We’re just not.”

Cameron Maybin and James McCann each had three hits for the Tigers.

The Rays are now 33-46. Drew Smyly fell to 2-9, giving up four earned runs in six innings.

“He just said to go get loose in the cage, and if they needed me I was ready,” Motter said. “It was just a one-time thing, and who knows if it’s going to happen again. I got out there and got an out, so I did what I needed to do. You just hope you don’t go out in a game like that. We’re losing big-time, and you hate to see a game like that get away from us.”

Today, Blake Snell pitches against Justin Verlander.

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Tampa Bay Rays collapse, blow five-run lead in loss to explosive Detroit Tigers

The game was a stroll on the beach.

It was an afternoon in the park. A float down the river. A Sunday afternoon drive.

And then the sky fell.

The Tampa Bay Rays blew a staggering lead Thursday night, giving up a five-run lead and losing a 10-7 game to the Detroit Tigers.

The Tigers had only four hits going into the ninth, but for some reason, manager Kevin Cash entrusted the lead to young Ryan Garton. The Tigers beat up on Garton, and eventually Erasmo Ramirez, and a nightmare ensued.

The first 10 Detroit batters who came to the plate had seven hits, two walks, and a sacrifice fly. The biggest hit was a bases-loaded double by Cameron Maybin.

The Tigers finished the inning with eight runs on seven hits. It was the biggest blown lead for the Rays since August of 2013 against the Dodgers.

The Rays had built a big lead on a four-run third, three of them on a bases-loaded double by Nick Frankin. The Rays padded their lead to 7-2 with two runs in the eighth.

But in the ninth, Garton gave up four straight singles. Ramirez came in and gave up two singles, two walks and a sacrifice fly. Maybin’s three-run double gave his team the lead.

“That’s a frustrating loss,” manager Kevin Cash said. “I don’t know if there’s been one more frustrating this year, but that was definitely a difficult one. … They just pieced together a bunch of hits. They did it off of Ryan [Garton] and then also Erasmo. We always talk about how hitting gets contagious. That was one contagious inning for them.”

Jake Odorizzi allowed only two earned runs in five innings. Matt Andriese then came in and pitched three innings on only 27 pitches. But Cash pulled Andriese for Garton, who couldn’t hold the lead.

“Given his recent workload,” Cash said. ” and also when you separate the games to five runs there, a five-run lead, we’re capable of having pitchers that need to go out there and get the job done for us.”

Both Garton and Ramirez gave up four runs. Ramirez has lost three of his last four appearances. Since May 6, his ERA is 7.16 over 21 appearances.

“I was just hoping the snowball would keep rolling down the hill,” Tigers’ manager Brad Ausmus said. “I don’t know if I have ever seen that before, where there was an offensive explosion like that in the ninth inning to come back and win a ballgame.”

Tonight, Drew Smyly of the Rays pitches against Detroit’s Michael Fulmer.

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Rays treat old teammate David Price rudely in 4-0 victory over Red Sox

The baseball fans at Tropicana Field may have been happy to see David Price again on Wednesday.

The Rays certainly were.

The Tampa Bay Rays, who had lost 12 of 13 games, took it out on Price in a 4-0 victory over the Red Sox Wednesday.

Instead, old friend Matt Moore got the win with seven innings of three-hit shutout pitching.

Price is now 1-3 against the Rays with a 6.36 era since being traded by Tampa Bay.

“Bad. Again,” Price said. “I’m just putting us behind the eight ball early in games. I’m not setting the tone the way that I need to. It tough, but I’ve got to get better. I’m so much better than this. I’ve just got to get better. It’s crushing me right now, but I’ll get there. I’ve just got to pitch better. That’s what it is right now; it’s not something else. It’s not bad luck. It’s me, so I’ve got to get better.”

The Rays’ had a double and a home run from Brandon Guyer in his first game back from the disabled list.

“I think everybody in this building has admiration for Price and what he means to the organization,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash. “Anytime you get to compete against him, it is special. Especially those guys who were here. Matt was a young pitcher when he was here. They follow him, they listen to him and to go toe-to-toe with that guy has to be special for Matt. And he was outstanding.”

Moore had a no-hitter through five innings. He worked his way out of a one-out, bases-loaded situation in the sixth.

“I think I was able to not have that relapse where you’ve gotta reset. Even with the bases loaded there, just being able to get a couple of those outs and stay on track was probably the biggest reason,” Moore said. “(It helped in the sixth) to slow it down, not feel like I’m rushing or that I have to do something special. You could tell that especially Ortiz was taking, just making sure we were coming in the zone. … Curt and I were on the same page for most of the night.”

Thursday, Jake Odorizzi (3-3) pitches for the Rays.

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Rays return to their losing ways as Chris Archer falls to Boston Red Sox

Well, that didn’t last very long.

The Tampa Bay Rays, who snapped an 11-game losing streak Monday night, were right back at it on Tuesday. This time, they lost an 8-2 game to the Boston Red Sox, giving them 12 losses in 13 games.

During that streak, the Rays’ pitching has given up 87 runs, or 6.7 per game.

In particular, the bullpen has been awful. The Rays bullpen has a major-league-worst 9.00 ERA (36 earned runs in 36 innings pitched) over the 1-12 stretch.

“I know the game got separated by a bit there at the end,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash. “Obviously, it was a closer ballgame. Kind of an odd ballgame from the first couple innings. Ultimately, came down to the 4th inning. We didn’t get it done when we had an opportunity. We did get some momentum to make it 2-1, but gave them the run back which is kind of a dagger that you’re looking to avoid right there.

“Have to try to find a way to come up with that big hit and also, when we did get one, two or five to come up with that shutdown inning.”

The Rays had 18 hits on Monday but got only 1/3 as many this night. For the Rays, the fourth inning was especially damaging. Trailing 2-0, they loaded the bases with no one out but scored only once.

Travis Shaw had three hits and five RBI for the Red Sox.

For the Rays, it was another losing effort for Chris Archer (4-11). Archer struck out nine, but he gave up seven hits and four walks in 6 1/3 innings. As for a small victory, Archer did get through the first inning scoreless. Coming into the game, he had a 10.69 ERA in the first and a 3.43 afterward.

“You know he’s battling,” Cash said. “He’s doing everything he can to be as consistent as possible. He is working as hard as he possibly can to get it figured out and get that positive consistency going in the right direction.”

Said Archer: “There were some situations where I would have preferred not to walk people. Overall, though, I felt like I pitched a decent game. Not good enough to get the win, so not very happy with it.

“You can always execute pitches at a higher level.”

Today, the Rays send Matt Moore to the mound to face former teammate David Price.

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Rays finally end their losing streak, batter visiting Red Sox , 13-7

Whee! One in a row.

For the Tampa Bay Rays, the long, empty losing streak has ended. In its place is a smaller, precious little one-game winning streak that came in a 13-7 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

The Rays scored five times in the first and four in the second, then hung on to beat Boston. Oh, the Rays still ended up giving up seven runs, which makes 79 in their last 12 games. But Tampa Bay had a season-high 18 hits and 13 runs in the win.

Five players had three hits for the Rays. They were Logan Forsythe, Evan Longoria, Oswaldo Arcia, Taylor Motter and Nick Franklin. Logan Morrison had two. Franklin had a career-high five RBI.

“Good win,” said manager Kevin Cash. “Needed win. I’m really happy for the guys because I know they’ve been grinding through it. A lot of questions have to be answered when you’re not playing well and I think they’ve handled it admirably.”

Rookie Blake Snell (1-2) got his first major league win in the game. He cruised through the first three innings.

“Then you started to see a little bit of that lack of fastball command sneak back in there,” Cash said “There were some jams he put himself into. It was still a good performance.”

For Snell, the key at-bat could have come in the fifth inning. He walked David Ortiz with the bases loaded, making it 9-3, but Hanley Ramirez had a chance to make it a game. Snell struck him out on four pitches.

“The whole game plan was to be aggressive,” Snell said. “ I knew that I needed to get ahead to put him away. I threw a curveball and got him.”

For the Rays, it was the third-longest losing streak in team history. The Rays hit .222 in the streak, including .148 with runners in scoring position. The Rays starters had been winless in their last 13 starts, and the bullpen had surrendered 29 earned runs in their last 29.2 innings.

The Rays did seem to remember how to celebrate, however. There was music and congratulations.

“We pretty much do the same thing,” Casali said.

Tonight, Chris Archer pitches against Rick Porcello.

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Rays’ Matt Silverman thinks the Rays can still turn their season around

Despite the losing streak, despite fifth place, despite the empty seats, Matt Silverman believes.

Furthermore, he believes the Tampa Bay Rays believe, too.

Silverman, speaking before Monday night’s game against the Boston Red Sox, conceded that the team’s record hasn’t matched expectations, but he said there was still time to turn things around.

“It’s been a really rough stretch for us,” said Silverman, the president of baseball operations. “It dates back to when we lost (Kevin) Kiermaier. Since then, we’ve had a series of unfortunate events. We’ve had more losing baseball than we’re used to. We’re going to fight our way out of this. But so far, our performance isn’t what we’re used to.

“Our depth has been challenged. We’re pretty dissatisfid, but we stil thing there is time to turn this around.”

Silverman refused to place the blame on manager Kevin Cash (16 games under .500 in his year and a half).

“Up and down the organization, we’re all responsible,” Silverman said. “The players, the coaches, the front office. We’re all looking in the mirror to see what we can do to right the ship.

“There is a lot of fight in this ballclub. A lot of grit. We have the belief. The talent.”

Silverman acknowledged that the Rays made their brand based on starting pitching. That has not measured up so far.

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Rays’ losing streak approaching the level of historic futility

In 2002, the Rays lost more games in a row than the current team. They ended up losing 106 games.

In 2004, the Rays lost more games in a row. They ended up losing 91.

Now, with 11 straight losses, you have to wonder just how bad these Rays will finish.

The Tampa Bay Rays’ losing streak has taken on historic proportions. The Rays fell 13 ½ games off the AL East lead Sunday, being swept for the first time in a four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles.

Only twice before have the Rays lost more consecutive games. They lost 15 in a row in 2002 and 12 in a row in 2004. The Rays have now given up 72 runs in their 11 straight losses.

Tampa Bay fell behind quickly, giving up a first-inning grand slam to Chris Davis. Also homering for the Orioles were Jonathan Schoop and Mark Trumbo. All three came off of Drew Smyly, who gave up 10 hits and eight earned runs in five innings.

The Orioles had 17 hits in all. Adam Jones had four. Manny Machado and Schoop each had three hits.

“It’s tough,” Rays’ manager Kevin Cash said. “Losing is tough. You find out a little about each other. No one’s character is going away. We’re playing hard. We’re running balls out. We’re just not executing like we’re capable of on the mound, at the plate, even on defense.”

For the Rays, Oswaldo Arcia and Brad Miller each had three hits.

The Rays return home tonight to play the Boston Red Sox. Rookie Blake Snell will start for Tampa Bay.

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