Rays plan to suffer with the status quo

Seo's rough start isn't enough to make Rays rethink the rotation.

Published May 20, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG - The Devil Rays are usually always looking to the future.

But until they decide their top pitching prospects are ready for a promotion, they apparently are willing to keep looking at the type of starting performances they got the past two nights and hoping - however desperately - it gets better.

What they got from Jae Seo in Saturday's 7-2 loss to Florida wasn't much different than what Edwin Jackson did the night before, or than they've done much of the season. Together, they're 2-10 with a 7.79 ERA and already have lost in back-to-back games four times.

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged it was "frustrating" and it was "difficult." But he also made it clear the Rays weren't ready to make any immediate changes.

"For right now," he said, "that's not what's going to happen right now."

Seo, after giving up a season-high seven earned runs including three home runs on Saturday, is 2-4 with a 7.80 ERA. In 45 innings, he has allowed an American League-most 44 runs and 84 baserunners, including an AL-high 66 hits 10 home runs. Opponents are hitting a whopping .346.

Saturday, Seo, who said he just wasn't sharp, gave up two runs in a rough first and one in the third, then three in a hurry in the sixth on back-to-back homers in a five-pitch sequence. "He just got some pitches in some bad spots, and it went away fast," Maddon said.

Jackson is 0-6, sharing the AL lead for losses, with a 7.78 ERA. In 37 innings he has allowed 39 runs and 73 baserunners (including 23 walks). Opponents are hitting .308.

(Plus, veteran Casey Fossum is 3-3 with a 7.80 ERA, has given up 42 runs and allowed 78 baserunners in his 45 innings and has a .326 opponents average.)

The Rays, though, seem willing to give them more time to get better. Or to at least give Triple-A prospects such as Jason Hammel (1-5, but a 3.58 ERA), Jeff Niemann (3-2, 3.97) and Andy Sonnanstine (5-2, 2.05) additional time to develop.

"It's frustrating," Maddon said. "It's very frustrating. Jae Seo's last outing he had a no-hitter into the fifth inning. He pitched a great game and we won. Jackson's prior two starts were very good and even though he did not get a win, he pitched well, and then there was the bad start (Friday).

"It's difficult. It is difficult. I'm not going to deny that. But we're going to keep looking for answers. When we are ready to make moves based on different things, we will do that. But for right now, it's not going to happen."

As a result, things like this are going to happen.

The back-to-back losses to the mediocre Marlins followed a season-high four-game winning streak, which following a season-high six-game losing streak, which followed a 5-5 stretch of extreme ups and downs.

"The roller coaster?" leftfielder Carl Crawford said. "We still have a lot of guys we're trying to feel out. We still haven't gotten to that nice rhythm where we're all doing well. We're still searching for that."

On the other hand, it's May 20 and the Rays have the same number of wins as the Yankees.

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8801. View his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/rays.


Marlins 7

Rays 2