At home for five games and again Thursday in the fog at U.S. Cellular Field, the Tampa Bay Rays seemed lost. They couldn’t find that big hit or inning to shake their season-starting doldrums, and it has left the defending AL East champs 0-6.
”It’s absurd to think you can go into some slumps and not hit the ball like this,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said, after his team managed just six hits in a 5-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on a day when former Tampa Bay hurler Edwin Jackson fanned a career-high 13 batters.
”One run all the time is just hard to cope with,” Maddon added. ”There’s not a whole lot we can do to be creative.”
In their six losses, the Rays have totaled only eight runs and 27 hits, and have yet to lead a game. They are tied for the worst record in the majors with the only other winless team, the division rival Boston Red Sox.
”It’s a tough game,” said Jackson, who pitched with the Rays from 2006-08. ”That’s a great group of guys over there, a lot of talent. Sometimes it’s just how the ball rolls.”
With the foggy start and a 39-degree temperature at the first pitch, the White Sox reached David Price (0-2) for two first-inning runs and finished with 12 hits.
”Nobody cares about how much money you make,” Price said. ”If you lose, you’re not having fun. This isn’t fun for us right now. It’s terrible.”
Rays DH Manny Ramirez missed the game because of a family matter but should be ready for Friday night’s game.
Alex Rios hit a two-run double in the first after Juan Pierre singled and Gordon Beckham was hit by a pitch. Rios doubled again in the third and scored on a single by Paul Konerko, while Brent Lillibridge and Pierre added RBI singles in the eighth.
Price, a 19-game winner last season, is now 0-4 in four career starts against the White Sox. He gave up nine hits and three runs in six innings.
”I expect to throw a complete-game shutout, that’s my mindset going into every game,” Price said. ”I know I’ve got to pitch better. I don’t care if we’re hitting or not, I need to pitch better than I’m pitching right now.”
Sam Fuld singled leading off the game and tried to create some offense by stealing two bases. But Jackson fanned Ben Zobrist and got Dan Johnson on a fly ball, stranding Fuld at third. Fuld also walked and stole a base in the third. Jackson then retired 12 straight before B.J. Upton singled with two outs in the seventh.
”Sam’s done some good things on the bases so far, but we just haven’t gotten enough guys out there to take advantage of other parts of our game,” Maddon said.
Now the Rays, who lost several players during the offseason, including Carl Crawford, are going to have to play catchup just to get to .500. They’re also without Evan Longoria, the star third baseman who’s on the DL.
”Of course, we never expected to start this way. We’ve had success and we anticipate success this season,” Maddon said. ”What happens in the beginning of the year is more magnified than if it occurs in the middle when you’ve built up a little cache of wins.
”We just have to get ourselves together, get back over .500 and take it from there. I’m not discouraged in regards to our season, it’s just a tough moment right now.”
NOTES: Chicago RHP Jake Peavy, who underwent surgery to repair a detached muscle in his shoulder and then experienced some rotator cuff tendinitis in spring training, is scheduled to throw 75 pitches in a rehab start for Double-A Birmingham on Friday. … Minnie Minoso threw out the first pitch to White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. … Attendance was announced as 38,579, a sellout. … Jackson’s 13 strikeouts were the most ever by a White Sox pitcher in a home opener. … Konerko has at least one RBI in each of the first six games.