What a sick feeling!
It feels like the Columbus Blue Jackets sweeping the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs all over again.
This was not supposed to happen. It wasn’t supposed to end this way. Yet here we are, staring at our TVs in stunned silence as we watch the Red Sox celebrate.
Many things went wrong in this series. Some questionable decisions by manager Kevin Cash were contributing factors to the Rays losing this series to the Red Sox.
As good of a manager as Kevin Cash is in the regular season, he is quickly earning a reputation as a great regular season manager, but one that can’t win the big one in the post-season.
Cash’s decision-making was questionable during this series. However, selecting Michael Wacha to be on the post-season roster was his first wrong decision. Cash turned to Wacha to pitch in game two of the series, and Wacha promptly gave up six runs in two innings.
In Game Four, with the game tied at five in the top of the ninth, leaving Yandy Diaz at third base instead of putting Joey Wendle in as a defensive replacement was another head-scratcher. We all know that Wendle is much better with the glove than Yandy Diaz. Yet, this decision would come back to bite the Rays, as Diaz threw the ball into the dirt at first base on a Travis Shaw infield hit that Ji-Man Choi could not dig out.
On most nights, Choi makes that play. Not tonight.
What are we to make of Brandon Lowe? For the second consecutive post-season, Lowe just disappeared. Lowe, who led the team with 39 home runs during the regular season, was 0/18 against the Red Sox in the ALDS. Lowe is hitting just .123 in back-to-back post-seasons. Maybe he should not be part of the post-season roster in the future should the Rays qualify.
There were some highlights this post-season. Wander Franco hit .368 with two home runs. Last year’s playoff hero Randy Arozarena hit .333 with one homer.
This was the best team in Rays history. And the season ends with the biggest disappointment in team history.
The Rays did not play well in September, and unfortunately, that carried over into October.
Andrew Kittredge talked about the disappointment post-game.
Very disappointing, obviously. Based on where we were last year and where we felt like we belong, it’s disappointing. That being said, I’m so proud of the guys. What a great season, franchise-record wins, there’s so much to look back on and really be proud of. But it does hurt right now.
After the game in his post-game press conference, Cash waved poetically.
There’s no doubt there’s disappointment. I think we’ve got to look at it, very proud of what was accomplished in the regular season, but we had high aspirations to get deep in this thing. We ran into a Red Sox team that they just beat us, no other way around it. They got the big hits.
There is a myriad of reasons why the Rays lost their series. In-game two of the series, the bullpen imploded and couldn’t buy an out at times, as Boston scored 14 runs and collected 20 hits off the Rays pitchers.
In-Game three, Ray’s hitters struck out 20 times in the 13 inning affair. The lack of being able to generate any sustainable offense hurt the Rays in that game.
Kevin Cash did not manage well in this series as he seemed to make one wrong decision after another that backfired.
The second-guessing will continue long into the off-season. It won’t change anything. A Rays team with the best record in the American League with 100 wins and was a World Series contender ends another disappointing season.