Rays experiencing lots of close calls

Rays experiencing lots of close calls

ARLINGTON -- Dating back to July 21, the Rays have lost nine of their last 10 one-run games. In addition, they are 6-18 in one-run games since May 28 after starting the season 12-4 (18-22 for the season).

Over their last 21 games, the Rays are 14-7. Six of the seven losses have come by a one-run margin. They became the first team to lose three 1-0 games in a month since the 2004 Angels.

Oddly, most would equate one-run losses with bullpen failures, but the Rays' relief corps leads the Major Leagues with a 1.26 ERA since the All-Star break. Over the team's last 36 games, dating back to July 19, the bullpen has a 0.81 ERA.

"No, they've been great," said manager Joe Maddon about the bullpen. "We've had a lot of games extended because the bullpen's been so good. I think a lot of it is [that] there have been a lot of good bullpens out there, both sides. We just have to get the run in somehow and get it rolling back in our direction."

When told that the Rays' fewest run totals for any innings have come in the seventh, eighth and ninth, Maddon said, "That makes sense."

"We've been a good ninth-inning team in the past," he added. "We just haven't been that more recently. ... [The pitching is] giving us a chance to win it. ... Pitching-wise, we've been there. We've been there at the end of every game. We've lost some extra-inning games -- some long ones where we just can't score a run. Even if you win two or three of those, the difference in the standings is incredible."