Bullpen, offensive futility behind slump

Bullpen, offense to blame for slump

BALTIMORE -- Look at the numbers if you want to figure out why the Rays have struggled lately.

Since Aug. 7, the Rays were 13-24 entering Thursday and the bullpen has gone 2-12 during that stretch with a Major-League high nine blown saves out of 13 opportunities. Russ Springer, who gave up a two-run, walk-off homer to the Orioles' Matt Wieters on Wednesday, serves as a microcosm of the bullpen's futility. Springer hasn't retired a batter in his past four appearances, a stretch that includes eight batters.

But the relief pitching has hardly been the sole reason for the turbulent times. Since Aug. 7, the offense has hit at a .246 clip to rank 27th in the Major Leagues, while averaging just 4.2 runs per game (20th).

During the current road trip, the Rays have scored 23 runs in 10 games, and eight of those runs came in Monday night's lone win, when they defeated the Orioles, 8-4. That translates to 15 runs in the other nine games.

"I don't think anybody is feeling that great as a hitter right now up at the plate," said Ben Zobrist, who hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning of Wednesday night's game against the Orioles. "There's nobody that we have who's really hot. And we've had several times this year where at least one or two guys were hot, kind of keeping us going offensively. We just haven't had that this trip."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.