The Tampa Bay Rays continued their losing skid Monday, dropping the first game of a three game set with the Detroit Tigers by the score of 6-3. Despite the strong starting pitching by Jeremy Hellickson, who lasted six innings while only allowing two runs, the Rays’ offense could only score one run through the first eight innings of play.
The Rays’ offense is weak and has struggled of late, but this was a particularly poor showing as the Tigers’ starter, Phil Coke, left after only 3.1 innings with a pulled muscle in his leg. The pitcher replacing him, Charlie Furbush, was pitching in his first major league game, yet he held the Rays scoreless for three full innings while striking out three batters.
Late in the game, the Rays’ bullpen struggled and allowed four runs, as J.P. Howell let up a few baserunners and then Juan Cruz had command issues and couldn’t get anyone out. Cruz walked two batters and allowed two hits without getting any outs, giving him nearly as many walks (15) as innings pitched (17) this season. He needs to improve his command or else he could find himself sent down to Triple-A in favor of one of Rob Delaney or Cory Wade.
This was the Rays’ seventh loss in their last ten games, but they managed to stay in first place as the Yankees and Red Sox both lost as well.