This is not what the Rays envisioned in the second season.

They did not anticipate striking out a lot. They did not anticipate leaving many men on base. They did not think their ace would fail when it mattered. They did not think they would be in danger of being eliminated by the Rangers.

This is exactly what happened. This fine season has gone ugly in the span of two days.

The Rays will be heading to Arlington down by two games, and they will be lucky if this series goes back to Tropicana Field.

This is not looking good. What is there to be optimistic about at this point?

The Rangers outplayed the Rays in those two games, and now they know they can finish the Rays off either Saturday or Sunday. With their suffering fanbase tasting a shot to go to the American League Championship Series, the Rangers will no doubt feed off of that.

Plus, does anyone think the Rays will suddenly hit after two lousy games? Hitting is contagious. When hitters get into a groove, it goes well. When they struggle, it snowballs.

With the Rays, their hitters have been great or awful. Rays manager Joe Maddon didn’t know what to expect out of them this year.

The Rays are struggling at the wrong time obviously. Maybe this should have been expected. Too many times this year, the Rays struck out often and left men on base.

Also, they tend to get started late in the game rather than early on. That’s a recipe for disaster, and now it’s catching up to them.

In the first two games, the Rangers got off to a good start by leading early in the game, and the Rays had a hard time catching up. Championship teams get on the board early, and they finish it.

Here’s another alarming stat that stood out in this series so far:

The Rays had the bases loaded in both games, but they failed to knock those runners home twice. They went 4-for-44 with men in scoring position.

They struck out 23 times in both games.

Those stats indicate this team is not getting it done.

The Rays stars have done next to nothing. Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton and Carlos Pena have not been on base often. They have not hit the ball either.

Pena was so bad that he did not play in today’s game.

When a team’s stars don’t do much, it’s hard for that team to win a postseason series let alone a postseason game.

The Rangers have gotten production from Vladimir Guerrero, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz and Michael Young. That is why the Rangers are leading the series.

Who knows if the Rays starters can recover that quickly? If they were going to recover, it was going to be today. Anyone is entitled to have one bad game, but when it becomes both games, it’s epidemic.

Doubts creep in. Guys lose confidence. Guys get mentally beaten down.

It sure looks like that’s the case now with the Rays. When a team goes down two games, it is hard to feel optimistic.

Now, this Rays team has been resilient, but then again, they have never faced adversity outside of June.

It’s their first true test. How will they handle it? Is this group equipped to handle it?

Who knows the answer? The best answer would be how the offense responds.


It’s interesting folks worried about how James Shields would perform today, but it turned out he did okay. He wasn’t great, but even if he was, it’s hard to believe he would get the win with that anemic offense.

If anything, Shields gave the Rays a better chance to win the game than David Price did on Wednesday.

Matt Garza can go pitch a perfect game, but it is not going to matter until the hitters start figuring it out.

The pressure is all on the Rays. They were expected to go win the series. They were supposed to be the better team.

They have to find a way to win the next three games. It is certainly feasible, but it is certainly not going to be easy. Winning three straight in October is harder than winning three straight during the course of the season.

Teams choked in playoffs, but that’s a rarity. It has to be a catastrophe.

Who knows if this group has it in them to rally around each other? It’s very good when things go well, but when it goes bad, it reveals a lot about these guys.

Now we find out what this group is made of. No one cares what they did in the regular season.

It’s about doing it in October.

Now we find out what the Rays are all about.

Read more MLB news on