Morning Juice: Rays drop 11th straight, won't repeat in AL East

David Brown
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This and almost every weekday a.m. during baseball season, let's rise and shine together to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts at Fenway Park, where the Rays pipe dream of repeating as AL East champions came to a nightmarish ending.

Games of the Day: Red Sox 3, Rays 1 (Game 1); Red Sox 4, Rays 0 (Game 2)

Egad: "E" is for eleven losses in a row for the Rays, the longest such streak by any team in the majors this season. "E" is for eliminated from the division race a season after winning it and 97 regular-season games. "E" is for everything's gone south. They still have life (barely) for a playoff spot, but that miracle won't be delivered, either. Suddenly — actually it's slowly and agonizingly — the Rays are struggling to stay above .500.

"E" is for something else, too.

"It's embarrassing," said right-hander James Shields(notes), who lost the second game. "Eleven straight losses. Not fun at all. Whether we're in the race or not, we've got to play better baseball."

It's the stupid offense: The Rays have scored 23 runs during the losing streak, which is longer by one than Kansas City's spinout back in July.

"All of this other stuff is magnified through the lack of offense," manager Joe Maddon said. "You can't expect to win when you score no runs and then one run. This whole week has been pretty much negative offense."

Wait, the Rays are better at being bad than the Royals?

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The Hangover: It was a hit movie and it also contributed to how the Rays left the chute in '09. The way Tampa Bay started the season — 9-14 during April — set the pace for a frustrating follow-up to the World Series season, so said the manager in the St. Petersburg Times:

"I really believe with a better April, we would have shown better toward the end right here," Maddon said. "If you're in a better position toward the end, you're going to find that energy that you need, where at least you're even or close."

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Feelin' Rundown (all of these teams are disappointed in the Rays, too):

Philles 5, Mets 4 (Game 1): Charlie Manuel sent Brad Lidge(notes) out there for the ninth and, after allowing a couple of runs and scaring the bejeezus out of the home throng at Citizens Bank Park, he crookedly nailed down his 29th save in ... wait for it ... 39 opportunities. It made a winner of gaijin Kyle Kendrick(notes), on loan from Japan.

It's obviously been a rough year for Lidge, a dominant and essential part of the Phillies championship a season ago. The Philly fans continue to rally around him, though, and it's not to prevent him from taking the mound. Counter to their reputation in some parts, Philly pholks really are supportive of Lidge, whose ERA jumped back over 7.00.

However, because the manager is hesitant to permanently eject Lidge from his role, it would be wise for Phillies management to reward and protect the home fans with an unprecedented promotion:

Brad Lidge Seat Belt Night.

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Sometime during the next series against the Nationals, the Phillies should hand out seat belts to everyone who attends. Don't fall prey to the ups and downs. Get a ticket so you can click it. Put yourself in lockdown for the ninth. Really, it's for your own safety.

Phillies 1, Mets 0 (Game 2): If fans need a seat belt for Brad Lidge, Pedro Martinez(notes) (5-0) chaise lounges sounds about right. Ryan Madson(notes) saved this one.

Rangers 7, Mariners 2 (Game 1)

Mariners 5, Rangers 0 (Game 2): 200 Hitchiro!

Pirates 2, Astros 1: The Pirates broke a 13-game road losing streak. Must have made for an awkward team flight to L.A. What did the guys say to each other?

Braves 9, Cardinals 2: In a role reversal, Carpenter gets hammered. It's his first loss in 14 starts since June 30. Exclamation point.

Giants 7, Dodgers 2: Larry Bowa is the only third-base coach in the world who would feud with a starting pitcher. Apparently, he and Brad Penny made up. ... Rockies at Giants TONIGHT. TIMMY.

Padres 7, Rockies 3: That odor is the Padres spoiling everything in the NL West. P.U., stinkeroo.

Brewers 5, D-backs 3: I saw this quote from Prince Fielder(notes) and froze: "It's really an honor to be mentioned with a guy like Cecil, a first baseman, especially," Fielder said.

Cecil? Cecil Fielder, his estranged dad? Alas, no. Prince Spaghetti was talking about Cecil Cooper, whose franchise record for RBIs he has tied with 126. Coop could swing it back in the day with Harvey Kuenn's Wallbangers.

And Prince and papa still ain't getting along.

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1-2-3 (what happened in three words or less):

Angels 3, White Sox 2: Torii burns Burlii.

Cubs 5, Reds 2: Typical Ted Lilly(notes).

Yankees 13, Orioles 3: CC turns 17.

Nationals 7, Marlins 2: Too much rain.

Tigers 7, Blue Jays 2: Porcello victorious fellow.

Twins 8, Athletics 0: Chairman Mauer .366.

Royals 7, Indians 0: End first quarter.