With one swing of the bat, Guardians infielder Andres Gimenez ended the Rays season with a 15th inning solo home as Cleveland advances to play the New York Yankees in the ALDS.
This was painful to watch.
One run was scored in 24 innings as the Cleveland Guardians turned the lights out on the Tampa Rays 2022 season.
Rays fans have seen this ugly movie play out a lot this season. The offense was subpar most of the season, and the lack of acquiring a big bat to put in the middle of the lineup at the trade deadline came back to haunt them.
The pitching was at a championship caliber all season. The offense, not so much.
The offense seemed to go into hibernation the last two weeks of the season, as the Rays went 2-7 down the stretch and then lost the two wildcard playoff games in Cleveland, scoring one run in 24 innings.
Both starters did enough to give the Rays more than enough chance to win those two games. The offense just couldn’t be found. Shane McClanahan allowed two runs in six innings in game one, and Tyler Glasnow threw five shutout innings in game two.
Kevin Cash summed it perfectly when talking about being eliminated from the postseason. “This two-game series, you saw about as good a pitching as you’re going to see. On the other side, I’ll speak for our club: We’re capable of more. We just couldn’t get it going.”
The lone run in the two-game series game was on a Jose Siri home run in the sixth inning of game one.
The big five of Yandy Díaz, Wander Franco, Randy Arozarena, Harold Ramírez, and Ji-Man Choi combined to go 3-for-42 with 15 strikeouts in the series.
Sure, the Rays had at least 70 home runs taken out of the lineup with injuries to Mike Zunino, Brandon Lowe, and Kevin Keirmaier.
Instead of going out and acquiring a big bat to help the offense, the Durham shuffle was started as the Rays promoted Vidal Brujan, Taylor Walls, Jonathan Aranda, and Luke Raley.
None would end the season hitting above .200.
You cannot expect postseason success with the anemic offense that the Rays put on the field in the playoffs.
Outside of Arozarena, who hit 20 home runs, there is no other home run threat on the club. Isaac Paredes, acquired from Detroit in the Austin Meadows trade, hit 20 home runs, but most came in May and June.
The Rays hit .115 in the two-game wild card series getting just nine hits in 78 at-bats.
Game two was the longest scoreless postseason game in MLB history. It was also the longest postseason game in Rays history, surpassing the 13-inning loss at Boston last season in game three of the ALDS.
Now the focus will shift to the off-season, and the number one priority has to be to fix the offense. The Rays need to trade or sign a big bat or two, or the results will be the same year after year—an early-round exit from the playoffs.
It always leaves you stunned and in shock when the season ends abruptly, and there is no baseball to look forward to until the following season.
The Rays will have all winter to think about what could have been.
There are free agents to sign, and that stadium thing is pretty important too. We will hear much about the new stadium over the winter.
A season that started with so much potential is now over.
Rays GM Erik Neander spoke with the Tampa Bay Times and was very honest in his assessment of what others think of the organization’s strategy of putting a roster together.
“Until we find a way to win a World Series, there’s always going to be a doubt that can come with any particular strategy. But I think we’re all really proud of the success that we’ve had over a long period of time now. And I think that’s going to be something that we are going to continue to find ways to get in. So always learning, always adapting.”