The Tampa Bay Rays top two starting pitchers turned in miraculous performances in their most-recent outings.
On June 8, Chris Archer kept the Seattle Mariners scoreless over 6 1/3 innings. He allowed five hits, only walked one and struck out two before handing the ball over to the bullpen. Jake McGee and Joel Peralta each did their jobs in relief appearances before close Grant Balfour got the call.
He lived up to his surname, walking a pair and giving up five runs in a 5-0 loss to the Mariners.
On Monday, staff ace David Price took to the mound. He, too, was effective in the start that lasted eight inning. Price surrendered three runs and struck out ten batters.
But like with Archer, the Rays bats couldn't get going and they were shut out again. Tampa Bay fell to Seattle, 3-0, ending a four-game series with three losses.
"There's not a whole lot to add to it. At some point, we have to get our bats alive," Rays manager Joe Maddon said after Monday's game.
Tampa Bay collected just 24 hits over the weekend. They tote a 19-inning scoreless streak as 18 runners were left on base in that span.
It doesn't seem like the Rays can handle these matters by themselves. So they called in some reinforcements.
The club called in a seminole tribal leader named Bobby Henry to bestow some positive juju at Tropicana Field.
''We just turned him loose on the Trop,'' Maddon said.
Tampa Bay has lost 13 of its last 14 game, falling to 24-29 which is the worst record in the majors.
The seminole power didn't pay off on Monday — maybe it just takes some time to sink in. Of the Rays' next 15 games, 12 are at home.
They welcome inter league opponent St. Louis Cardinals for a two-game series beginning Tuesday then head to Houston for three games against the Astros. It's back home from June 16 to 25 and Tampa Bay will face the Baltimore Orioles, Astros again and Pittsburgh Pirates.
"Sometimes I feel like this year's just been one of those years where sometimes you can get a bit lucky and sometimes you get unlucky and you got to take it on the chin," Balfour told the team's official website.
The seminole leader's tactic may just be that hint of luck the team is searching for.
"I guess this guy made it rain in Tampa in the mid ‘80s at some point, so he's got some supernatural powers," Maddon told the Tampa Bay Times . "If it rains in the Trop, I'll be really impressed."
No Rays batter is hitting above the .300-mark. James Loney leads the team with a .282 average. Beyond that, it's a hefty drop off. Matt Joyce is at .267, while Evan Longoria and David DeJesus are hitting .265.
A bright spot could be Kevin Kiermaier's sudden rise. The rookie only has 42 major league at-bats, though he has collected 15 hits in that short time. Kiermaier already has four home runs, four doubles and a triple.
He went 1 for 3 on Monday and drew a walk.
If the seminole blessing doesn't become the eventual spark the Rays need, Kiermaier, himself, might be the wizard who can produce some wins.
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