Rays put ‘all-encompassing’ struggles up against Athletics

May 28, 2024, 7:08 AM

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - MAY 26: Max Schuemann #12 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates with manager Ma...

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

The Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays meet for the first time this season Tuesday night at the start of a three-game series at St. Petersburg, Fla., that matches a pair of clubs trending in opposite directions.

In Oakland’s 112-loss campaign in 2023, not much went right on or off the field. This season, though, manager Mark Kotsay’s club is playing much better baseball and is out of last place, at least for the time being.

Last week, during a six-game homestand, the American League West’s fourth-place team split its six games and two series, taking two of three from the Colorado Rockies before dropping two against the Houston Astros.

More on Athletics vs. Rays

In Sunday’s 5-2 setback in the home finale, shortstop Max Schuemann bobbled an easy two-out grounder in the fourth inning, committing two errors on the play and watching five runs (four unearned) cross the plate as the Astros went on to win the series.

Kotsay said key miscues hampered his group in both defeats against Houston.

“The play is made and it’s a one-run game,” Kotsay said of Schuemann’s gaffe. “It really impacted the game. Physical errors are going to happen. Nobody is trying to go out there and make an error. Max has played a good shortstop. … You look back on Friday’s loss, we had one (bad) inning. Today, we had one inning that let the game slip away from us.”

Like the A’s, Tampa Bay finds itself near the bottom of its division — fourth in the AL East, leading only the struggling Toronto Blue Jays. Injuries have played a role in the Rays’ struggles.

Against Kansas City on Sunday, Brandon Lowe hit a three-run triple that helped the Rays earn a 4-1 victory to salvage the final game of the series.

During their struggles this season, the Rays are finding it hard to win at home, which has not been the case during manager Kevin Cash’s tenure.

Entering the season, the AL East squad had a reputation for defending its turf and playing 8 1/2-inning games.

Since the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, the Rays held a 176-96 mark (.647 winning percentage) at home, but this year’s struggles have led to a 15-17 record including 1-5 on the current nine-game homestand.

“We’re not getting it done,” Cash said. “Every facet of it. I mean, we’re expanding on pitches that we probably can’t handle. The pitches we can handle, we’re not doing any damage with. We’re not able to piece too much together right now. So I mean, it’s kind of all-encompassing.”

In his 11th start, Rays right-hander Zack Littell (2-2, 3.42 ERA) will take the ball in the series opener. It is the first of seven matchups with the A’s this season.

Littell’s last two starts were no-decisions against the Boston Red Sox when he combined to allow six earned runs in 10 2/3 innings with two homers.

Over nine career appearances against the A’s, all in relief, the right-hander is 0-0 with a 4.00 ERA.

Oakland is expected to start rookie right-hander Mitch Spence (3-2, 4.09) for the first game of its six-game road trip.

–Field Level Media

Upcoming schedule for the Oakland Athletics

  • Tuesday, May 28th-Thursday, May 30th – @ Tampa Bay Rays
  • Friday, May 31st-Sunday, June 2nd – @ Atlanta Braves
  • Tuesday, June 4th-Thursday, June 6th – vs. Seattle Mariners
  • Friday, June 7th-Sunday, June 9th – vs. Toronto Blue Jays
  • Monday, June 10th-Wednesday, June 12th – @ San Diego Padres

Thank you for reading SactownSports.com. Follow us on Twitter and Google News, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.


Oakland Athletic's

Garrett Hampson #2 of the Kansas City Royals tags out JJ Bleday #33 of the Oakland Athletics at sec...

Field Level Media

Royals defeat Athletics as Freddy Fermin, Bobby Witt Jr. go yard

Freddy Fermin hit two early home runs, Bobby Witt Jr. broke an eighth-inning tie with one of his own and the Kansas City Royals avoided a three-game sweep at the hands of the host Oakland Athletics with a 3-2 win Thursday afternoon.

4 days ago

With the decision to move from Oakland to Las Vegas fans of the Oakland Athletics protest with sign...

Frankie Cartoscelli

Report: Oakland Athletics want to play eight home games away from Las Vegas

According to reports, the Oakland Athletics have requested to play eight home games a season away from the team’s future Las Vegas ballpark

19 days ago

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - MAY 23: Joey Estes #68 of the Oakland Athletics pitches in the top of the fir...

Field Level Media

Athletics pitcher Joey Estes will try for second win vs. Mariners

Joey Estes and Logan Gilbert will face off on Wednesday when the Oakland Athletics continue their series against the Seattle Mariners.

19 days ago

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 4: J.D. Davis #5 of the Oakland Athletics flies out to Dylan Moore #25 o...

Field Level Media

Parade of doubles carries Mariners past Athletics

The Oakland Athletics made things interesting late but fell short against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night at the Coliseum.

19 days ago

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - MAY 08: Michael Kelly #47 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Texas ...

Frankie Cartoscelli

Oakland Athletics pitcher suspended in MLB gambling scandal

A's pitcher Michael Kelly is one of five players that have been handed one-year suspensions (or worse) due to gambling on MLB games.

20 days ago

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 29: Mitch Spence #40 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Cleve...

Field Level Media

Athletics aim to show further improvement vs. Mariners

The Oakland Athletics hope improved play of late results in more wins when they open a six-game homestand Tuesday night against the red-hot Seattle Mariners.

21 days ago

Rays put ‘all-encompassing’ struggles up against Athletics