Put a fork in it, the Tampa Bay Rays’ most disappointing season since 2007 came to a close in disappointing fashion, with the Rays falling to the Cleveland Indians 7-2. The Rays ended the season with a 77-85 record, and their lowest offensive output since the Devil Rays days (more on that below). Alex Cobb took the mound against Indians starter TJ House and allowed ten hits, including a rare two homer second inning. Meanwhile House, while lasting only 49 pitches, proved to be effective, ultimately limiting the Rays to one run in five innings.
The Rays got on the board first in the second inning, thanks to a Sean Rodriguez home run; his 12th on the year and good enough for second best on the Rays (behind Evan Longoria). The one-run lead was short lived, however. David Murphy and Zach Walters both took Cobb deep in the bottom of the inning to give the Indians a one-run advantage.
Cleveland scored again in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Jose Ramirez plated Tyler Holt on a sac-fly. The Rays managed to put another run on the board in the top of the sixth after Longoria brought Brandon Guyer home with a sac-fly of his own.
Tampa Bay held the deficit to two runs until the seventh when the typically reliable Jeff Beliveau gave up three runs, blowing the game open for the Indians.
Brandon Gomes and CJ Riefenhauser finished the game for the Rays, though the offense would never be able to overcome the five run margin.
And that my friends, is how one of the most disappointing years on record ended on a whimper, not a bang. A few game and season peripherals follow.
The 2014 total represents nearly an 800 fan-per-game drop from 2013, which is about right given the team’s terrible start and season-long struggle to reach .500. The rest of MLB attendance remained about flat from 2013. Its also worth noting the Rays enjoyed another good year on television and stand to make major financial gains when they renegotiate their TV contract, set to expire after the 2016 season. The Indians dropped to just 274 fans per game ahead of Tampa Bay with three games to go, but the season-ending series against the Rays boosted that number back up to 570. However, had the Indians counted their three weekday single-admission doubleheaders toward their attendance totals, their per-game average would look much different. If you added the 40,129 total fans who saw the three doubleheaders, the Indians’ average would be 18,241 — 344 fans ahead of the Rays. If you don’t double-count the fans from the doubleheader (we don’t know if they watched both games), the Indians would be averaging just 17,746 — 122 fans behind the Rays, who sold about 10,000 more tickets this year.
As of this very moment, the Rays begin their long off-season, and I can’t wait to see what kinds of moves they make to bolster the roster going into the 2015 season. And while we won’t be putting together updates with the frequency that Spring Training and the regular season schedules may dictate, we’ll be keeping up with all the Hot Stove moves. Hell, maybe we’ll even write about the postseason (cough, let’s go Royals).
That said, we’d love to add some contributors to the fold. Know how to read statistics, and have some writing chops? Are you a sarcastic old coot who hates the Yankees or Red Sox? Get in touch!
Alex Cobb finished the season with a 2.87 ERA, which is fourth best in team history, and looks to slot him sixth in the Anerican League. The two other Rays who ended their seasons (162 IP minimum) with an ERA that was better than Cobb’s: Price with a 2.56 ERA in 2012, Price with a 2.72 ERA in 2010, and Shields with a 2.82 ERA in 2011.
A James Loney groundout to first ends the Rays season on a whimper, not a bang. Tampa Bay dropped game 162 by a score of 7-2 to the Cleveland Indians. The Rays end their season with a massively subpar 77-85 record. Our final Rays recap of the season is in the works — we’ll have that on the site shortly.
Onward to the postseason; Let’s go Royals and Giants!
With that eighth inning stolen base, Ben Zobrist joined Andrew McCutchen and Hanley Ramirez as the only players to hit at least 10 homers and swipe at least 10 bags in each of the last six years.
Let me understand this: Akex Colome blanked the Indians through 6-1/3 innings, while striking out six and walking only one, yet Joe Maddon chose to call on the ‘pen one out into the seventh inning. Colome put down all seven of the leadoff batters he faced, and only allowed one base runner to reach second base — all on 79 pitches no less — yet Joel Peralta is in the game. And what did Peralta do? He promptly gave up a hit on a breaking pitch that didn’t break.
Wil Myers snapped the Rays 19 inning scoreless streak. Worry not, they’ve started a new one.
#Rays Maddon says he does not anticipate any changes in coaching staff, praised work of hitting coach Derek Shelton.