The Rays have squandered a three-game lead like only one another team in MLB history.
In all of sports history, there have been only four teams that have come back from an 0-3 deficit to win the series. Three were in the NHL playoffs and only one in the MLB playoffs.
The 2004 Boston Red Sox came back from an 0-3 deficit to beat the New York Yankees four games to three to win their playoff series.
How have the Rays let this commanding 3-0 series lead disappear?
Simple. The offense has quit hitting at the most crucial time of the year.
The Rays were not an offensive powerhouse during the 2020 season as they hit .238 which put them in the bottom third of MLB.
Brandon Lowe who was the offensive MVP of this team during the regular season has mysteriously gone into a slump at the worst time.
Lowe has five hits in 48 at-bats this postseason with one home run and two runs batted in.
Let’s take a look at some of the Rays-everyday players and their hitting in the postseason.
Wily Adames is hitting .139, Mike Zunino .200, Austin Meadows .129, Yandy Diaz .125, Hunter Renfroe .200, Yoshi Tsutsugo .154.
There have been two bright spots in the postseason offensively, Randy Arozarena, and Manuel Margot.
Arozarena is hitting .392 with six homers and eight runs batted in. Without his hitting the Rays would not even be in the championship series.
The issue is no one else is hitting and getting on base. As a result, most of his homers have been solo shots.
Manuel Margot has been very good offensively. Margot is hitting .270 with five homers and 11 runs batted in.
Joey Wendle, Kevin Keirmaier, and Michael Brosseau have all had their moments, but no one has hit consistently.
The deeper into the series the Rays have gone, the tighter the guys have looked at the plate. They are swinging at bad pitches. They are sometimes just standing there with the bat on their shoulder.
They are just too tight. If they can relax when they step into the plate, the offense would come to life a little bit.
The Rays pitching has been superb. You cannot ask more out of this bullpen, then what they have given this post-season.
Diego Castillo was not sharp in Friday’s 7-4 loss to the Astros but has been very good up until then.
Kevin Cash had been close to perfect on making the right decisions at the right time before Friday’s loss. Friday was the first game where everything he tried seemed to not work out well for the Rays.
Cash pulled Blake Snell very early in the fifth inning after a walk and an infield hit. Castillo came on and before you could blink, it was 5-1 Astros. Given a do-over, Cash may leave Snell in a bit longer.
Charlie Morton who has been the Rays best pitcher in the post-season will take the mound in game seven. The Astros will counter with Lance McCullers Jr. This will be a rematch of the game two starters.
Morton is 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA in the post-season and did not allow a run in five innings of work in his game two starts against the Astros.
McCullers allowed one run in seven innings of work as the Rays won that game 4-2.
The bullpen should be ready to go. Shane McClanahan who threw 45 pitches and Jose Alvarado who threw 25 pitches last night are the only question marks.
The Rays are 5-2 in elimination games in the playoffs. The most recent elimination game a 2-1 win against the Yankees in game five of the ALDS 2-1.
I still believe the Rays win the series. I predicted the Rays Would win at the beginning of the series and am not going to change that.
The Rays need to get timely hitting, and some hits when runners are on base.
The offense has to deliver. This offense has been bailed out by the pitching game after game. The Bats need to come alive tonight.
Let’s go Rays.