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Tampa Bay Rays complete a forgettable month of bad baseball

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Nine years. More than a thousand games.

And now, they’re back. Miserable again.

The Tampa Bay Rays completed their worst month in years Friday night in Boston, dropping a 5-7 decision to the Red Sox that left them with a 9-16 record for the month of July, the worst record in the major leagues. To find a worse complete month for Tampa Bay, you have to go back all the way to 2007, the first season of Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman. The team was 7-20 that month, a team that didn’t appear to be going anywhere. That year, they were 24 games back going into August with a 40-66 record.

This year, they’re closer. They’re 51-53 and seven games back, so things could be worse. But the Rays seem to have lost all interest in being a competitive team in the AL East.

The Rays had the best record in the major leagues in July during  2013 and 2014, but this has been a nightmare. The Rays are averaging 3.38 runs per game and hitting .225, both their lowest figures.

The Rays took a 5-4 lead Friday night on John Jaso’s double, which drove in Joey Butler and Mike Mahtook. But in the bottom of the inning, Mike Napoli drove a high fastball over the Green Monster off reliever Jake McGee to give the Red Sox the lead. A wild pitch brought an insurance run home for the Red Sox.

The Rays committed three errors and left 13 men on base. In all, there were five errors, nine walks, three wild pitches and a hit batsman.

Today looks like a day for the bullpens. The Rays’ Matt Moore has not gone more than five innings in any of his five starts. The Red Sox’s Joe Kelly has had 10 starts of less than six innings.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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