KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Members of the Tampa Bay Rays front office often talk about a desire to play a balanced schedule, and you wonder why? So they can make more trips each year to Kauffman Stadium?
They can win in Boston and New York. It’s the Kansas City Royals who have given the Rays fits over the past three seasons.
Wednesday’s 7-3 loss dropped the Rays to 1-8 at Kauffman Stadium over the past three seasons.
As with the first two games of the three-game series, the Rays faced a good starting pitcher who made things tough on the offense by keeping the fastball down in the strike zone and throwing their off speed pitches for strikes.
“We didn’t get a lot of pitches to hit, and when we did hit them hard it seemed like they caught them,” second baseman Ben Zobrist said. “It seems like we didn’t have a lot of luck this week here, really the last year here.”
Wednesday’s loss dropped the Rays to 5-5 and continued their early season trend of feast or famine when it comes to the offense during the games they’ve won and lost. The Rays are averaging six runs a game in their five wins and 1.4 runs per game in their five losses.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said he is not concerned with the offense, because the Rays have having good at-bats, not chasing pitches out of the strike zone and hitting the ball hard when making contact.
“When you hit the ball hard it eventually comes back to you,” Maddon said. “You can be unlucky with it. We’ve been unlucky with placement. I don’t want to guys to change anything. I don’t want them to think anything is wrong, because it’s not.”
The Rays led 1-0 on Desmond Jennings first home run of the year, which came in fourth inning. The Royals scored twice in the bottom of the inning off Jake Odorizzi on three singles and a ground out. The big blow came in the fifth when Alex Gordon’s three-run homer to right field capped a five-run inning.
Maddon said Odorizzi pitched well. Aside from a fifth inning triple by Nori Aoki, he wasn’t hit hard. It’s just that the Royals hits found the grass, while the balls the Rays hit did not.
“On days like that sometimes you have to tip your cap and other days you have to go back to the drawing board and figure out what we could have done better,” Zobrist said. “I think this series was one of those where we have to tip our cap more than anything because I think they pitched really well.”