Infielder Jake Elmore pitches during the eighth inning last night. (Photo Credit: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Infielder Jake Elmore pitches during the eighth inning last night. (Photo Credit: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Alex Colome had the toughest start of any Tampa Bay starter, as the Rays suffered their most lopsided loss on Tuesday night — a 16-4 shellacking at the hands of the Washington Nationals. In spite of the loss, Tampa Bay will hit the road a five-game jaunt with a 36-30 record, maintaining a one-game lead over the Yankees in the AL East.

As a wise man once said, sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you. It’s your guess who or what ate who or what last night. Perhaps a FanGraphs WPA graph will help clarify things:

Source: FanGraphs

Need I say more?

Want to relive the contest in all of its painful glory? Our buddy Ian Malinowski (DRaysBay) recapped it here. Otherwise, listed below are a handful of Rays-centric odds and ends.

— The Rays optioned LHP C.J. Riefenhauser back to Triple-A Durham after the game, and selected the contract of RHP Ronald Belisario, who will join the team in D.C. As you may recall, Belisario notified the team Monday he would use the opt-out clause in his contract. They had until Wednesday to make a decision on whether to activate the 32 year-old righty, or let him hit the free-agent market. Belisario posted a 3.26 ERA and 17 saves in 19 opportunities in 27 Durham appearances.

— Jake Elmore and Nick Franklin took the bump for the Rays in the eighth and ninth innings. It was just the fourth time a position player has pitched for Tampa Bay (Sam Fuld was the last on 9/2/13 vs Anaheim).

— Enny Romero departed the game with back tightness, but he should be good to go in a couple days.

— Matt Moore worked 4-2/3 innings on Tuesday, allowing two runs on four hits (2 2B, 3B, a HR on an errant change-up) for the Stone Crabs in the third of five rehab starts. He fanned three on 78 pitches (49 strikes, 63% K%).

I think I built from the last one, Moore said after his outing. We were kind of able to lose ourselves in the competition, which is what these rehab starts are for, to kind of forget about the rehab and just get into the competition.

Moore will move his rehab assignment to Triple-A Durham and likely make two starts.

— James Loney has a three-week checkup Wednesday on his broken left middle finger. If all goes as planned, he could begin strengthening activities. A caveat, he is still several weeks from returning.

— Righties Jake Odorizzi and Andrew Bellatti played catch again, this time at a distance of 90 feet. Both could start throwing off the mound early next week.

— Rays principal owner Stu Sternberg spoke with Marc Topkin on the subject of attendance on Tuesday. Sternberg acknowledged the Rays’ attendance has been worse than projected:

In the offseason I expected it to be down a bit, but it’s down more than I anticipated, he told Topkin.

He went on to say the decline was “nobody’s fault,” and while several games conflicted with the Lightning’s Stanley Cup run, he didn’t think that “had a dramatic effect on it,” though maybe it will now increase.

If I may, the Lightning hosted a watch party that attracted between 17,000 and 20,000 fans at Amalie Arena on Monday — the same night only 10,216 people attended a game at the Trop. The Lightning and Rays fan bases are not mutually exclusive. Sure, there are a few people here or there who like one sport over the other. However, it’s a glib assumption that one does not effect the other. C’mon Stu, you’re smarter than that!

Still, Sternberg is deserving of some credit, after all he didn’t assign blame for the problem — something he was all to willing to do in the past.

In the end, as I wrote yesterday, it’s up to everyone to focus on that scrappy baseball team…you know the Tampa Bay Rays, who happen to be in first place? This lack of fan support is draining. No more excuses, get out to the Trop and support your damn team!

The New What Next

The Rays announced this afternoon that Steve Geltz will stat tonight tonight instead of Matt Andriese (1-1, 3.76 ERA), in what will be a bullpen day. Cash employed a similar strategy in Miami — by starting a reliever, the idea is that the Rays can use National League rules in their favor by pinch hitting early. Andriese, who earned his first Major League win on Friday when he pitched a career long 5-2/3 innings, is still expected to pitch at some point during the contest. Jordan Zimmermann (5-4, 3.74 ERA) will face the Rays for the first time since his rookie season. He tossed five innings of one-run ball (solo home run) in an 8-3 loss, in his most recent start. You can read about the pitching matchup in our series preview.

Rays 6/17/15 Starting Lineup

Kiermaier CF
Elmore 1B
Longoria 3B
DeJesus LF
Forsythe 2B
Souza RF
Cabrera SS
Casali C
Geltz RHP

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