St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
tampabay.com

printer version

Rays' slide hits six

Starter Ryan Rupe leaves early with tightness in his right bicep, then game gets away in 6-2 loss to Indians.

By MARC TOPKIN

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 7, 2000


CLEVELAND -- All the good the Devil Rays thought they'd accomplished with three months of plus-.500 play disappeared Wednesday night.

The 6-2 loss to Cleveland ran their losing streak to six games, matching their longest of the season, and dropped them to a season-low 21 games worse than .500 at 59-80.

Adding to their woes, starter Ryan Rupe left the game after three innings because of what was described as tightness in his right bicep, forcing interim manager Bill Russell, who was filling in as Larry Rothschild began his three-game suspension, to scramble an already fried pitching staff.

"We're laboring right now," catcher John Flaherty said. "It's every facet of the game. We're not hitting, the strength of the club now is probably starting pitching and one of our starters had to leave tonight after the third inning with a sore arm, and our bullpen, it's no secret, has been beat up and overworked. It's a bad combination."

The score was tied after an exchange of two-run home runs by Roberto Alomar and Steve Cox, but the Indians took a 3-2 lead in the fifth and built from there, tagging rookie Travis Harper, who had been scheduled to start Friday, and Doug Creek for two runs apiece.

It was the 16th time in 22 games the Rays have scored three or fewer runs, and it certainly didn't help that Chuck Finley was on the mound for the Indians.

Finley, the former Angels ace, clearly has their number, and some pretty impressive ones of his own. In five starts against Tampa Bay, he has a 4-0 record, a 1.31 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 341/3 innings.

"I got the impression from the paper that he was struggling," Flaherty said, "but we didn't see that tonight."

"He went through us pretty good," said Rothschild, who watched the game on television from an undisclosed location.

Finley, who is 11-10 overall, refused to make too much of his success against the Rays.

"I don't look at them any different than anyone else," he said. "If you start thinking about having good success against a certain team, you'll ease up and run into trouble."

Rupe was being examined at a Cleveland doctor's office late Wednesday, with the Rays unsure of his status. Rupe missed nearly six weeks with biceps tendinitis after being sent down to Durham in early May, but had not complained of discomfort since rejoining the big-league team in July, Rothschild said.

"I had a conversation with him about two weeks ago and said, "If you are hurt, if there's any signs of anything, we need to know it right away,' " Rothschild said. "But he said the only sign he had was that he fatigued in the fourth or fifth inning the last couple times, but he just figured it was normal wear and tear and everything."

The injury is the latest downturn in what has been a brutal sophomore season for the 25-year-old right-hander.

Coming off an 8-9 performance as a rookie, Rupe struggled at the start of the season and was sent down after posting an 0-4 record and 9.68 ERA in six starts. He pitched two innings for Durham on May 8 before leaving with the bicep problem, came back in mid-June and rejoined the Rays on July 9. In 12 starts since, he has a 5-2 record but a 5.15 ERA.

With the Indians up 3-2, the Rays had what looked to be a good chance to tie in the seventh. Cox, who isn't known for his speed, led off with an infield single, then bagged his first big-league stolen base. He made it look good when Bobby Smith pulled back on a bunt attempt, sliding to the inside of the base as Omar Vizquel jumped for the high throw, but the reality was that he missed a sign.

"I thought it was a hit-and-run, but it was a bunt," Cox said.

The way the night was going, the Rays couldn't even take advantage of the good fortune. Smith struck out for the third time in the game and the eighth time in a 10 at-bat stretch, Flaherty flied to left and Jose Guillen was caught looking at a curveball.

"Right now, we're beat-up pitching-wise and, especially against a team like Cleveland, that's not a good thing to be," Flaherty said. "We better get it going soon, because this isn't a good way to finish up. We were trying to finish up on a positive note and we were playing good baseball. Right now, we definitely have to regroup."

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright
 

From the Times sports desk
  • Olympics always prove memorable
  • Rays' slide hits six
  • Culpepper is getting used to feeling like a Bear
  • He's not just a jock 'scooting through'
  • Lindsay's sweet revenge
  • Captain's corner
  • College basketball coaches on move
  • Cleaves officially a Piston
  • Rays shift to silent
  • Citing family, Agassi bows out
  • Aikman will sit against Cardinals
  • Green has extra info on 1 Bears receiver
  • Brooks named NFC Defensive Player of Week
  • Pruett experiences major turnaround
  • Lions QB Batch gets $31-million deal, may start
  • Injury ends season, but not career
  • Martin endears crowd with marathon victory
  • Ludzik enjoys this camp's impending competition
  • Tampa Bay Downs to again raise its purses
  • Cougars enter 2000 with lots of depth
  • Off-season leagues now united
  • Packer has come a very long way in three years
  • Ex-Bogie star's future hinges on test score
  • Class of the County
  • Golf district breakdown
  • Players to watch
  • Ridgewood rolls past Zephyrhills to stay perfect
  • Bulls senior bides her time, gets in shape
  • Wesley Chapel doubles its fun against Citrus
  • Woods aims at rare triple
  • USGA goes distance in clubs debate
  • Metal woods carrying a heavy market share


  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts