"We've got to keep putting the guys out there at the appropriate times and wait for it to work," manager Joe Maddon said. "There is no other way to do it. There are no other options. This is the way it has to work. And you've got stay with it and show support."
On Wednesday, closer Fernando Rodney blew his fourth save. It was the third game the Rays lost after blowing a ninth-inning lead and seventh loss after leading after seven innings.
He hasn't been the only problem, as every member of the bullpen except for Joel Peralta has had problems.
"Everybody's been doing their best. They're trying and it's just not working out," Maddon said. "Stick with the guys. We're going to keep plugging through it. It's going to come back to us."
With Jeff Niemann and Brandon Gomes on the disabled list, the Rays have already dipped into their reserves with Josh Lueke now in the big leagues, so they don't have many more internal options. The next two pitchers they likely would consider are lefty Alex Torres, who was impressive when called up last weekend, and righy Alex Colome.
The struggles are a bit unusual for the Rays.
"There's no question we've been spoiled here for a long time so, sure, the expectations are always higher when you've been that good in the past," Ben Zobrist said. "I think realistically every team's bullpen is going to go through a rough patch. That's just something they're working through right now."
The Rays pen has a 4.80 bullpen ERA that is 29th in the majors, better than only Houston.
"You've just got to keep on going," veteran Kyle Farsworth said. "These days are going to come and hopefully, eventually, we're going to come out of it. ... The talent is certainly down there. We've done it before. We just have to keep our heads up and just keep battling and just keep going at it."
NEXT: Yankees (David Phelps, 2-2, 3.83) at Rays (Roberto Hernandez, 2-4, 5.24).
OF Matt Joyce, who left Tuesday's 4-3 win over the Blue Jays with tightness in his right hamstring, said he felt better Wednesday, but he did not play. Manager Joe Maddon said he expects Joyce to be able to start against the Yankees in the opener of a three-game series on Friday.
RHP Alex Cobb, who beat the Blue Jays on Tuesday, will be moved up a day in the rotation and will start against the Yankees on Sunday instead of RHP Jake Odorizzi, who will start Monday instead against the Miami Marlins. "Just based on experience," manager Joe Maddon said. "Cobb has been pitching really well, and Jake is new. Why not give Cobber the tougher assignment? … I don't want to say anything bad about Miami, but in general terms, division rivalry, Cobber's had more experience. The Yankees are on a pretty good roll. Let's throw him there."
3B Evan Longoria started Wednesday's 4-3, 10-inning loss to the Blue Jays as designated hitter to give his legs a bit of a break. He walked in the third inning and doubled in the ninth to extend his career-best hitting streak to 16 games. He also has reached base in 45 of 46 games.
RHP Jeremy Hellickson allowed a first-inning run on Wednesday for the seventh time in 10 starts this season, including six starts in a row. But he allowed only two runs in eight innings and stood to win until RHP Fernando Rodney had his fourth blown save in 13 chances when he gave up a ninth-inning homer to RF Jose Bautista. Hellickson reduced his ERA to 5.37 as he kept his fastball down and had a changeup working off a good curveball. "He did really well," manager Joe Maddon said. "That was different. That was more like Helly tonight. He has a nice temp about him. He pitched really, really well." Said Hellickson: "Even this last month, I've felt like I've thrown pretty well—just had some bad luck in the last inning I've been out there. Tonight my fastball command was probably the best it's been. I think if I can command that, everything else is a little bit better."
RHP Roberto Hernandez will make his ninth start Friday in the opener of a three-game series against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field. He lasted two innings in his previous start, allowing eight hits and five runs at Baltimore in a game the Rays came back to win 10-6 with a six-run rally in the ninth. In four starts at The Trop this season, Hernandez is 2-1 with a 2.92 ERA. He is 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA on the road. In 11 career appearances (eight starts) against the Yankees, he is 1-6 with a 7.16 ERA, his highest ERA against any American League team.
"Even this last month, I've felt like I've thrown pretty well, just had some bad luck in the last inning I've been out there. Tonight my fastball command was probably the best it's been. I think if I can command that, everything else is a little bit better."—
RHP Jeremy Hellickson, after giving up two runs in eight innings against Toronto on Wednesday.
OF Matt Joyce (right hamstring tightness) left the May 21 game and didn't play May 22. Manager Joe Maddon said he expects Joyce to be able to start against the Yankees in the opener of a three-game series on May 24.
C Jose Molina (left hamstring tightness) left the May 18 game But returned to action May 22. He is day-to-day.
LHP David Price (left triceps strain) went on the 15-day disabled list May 16. He is expected to miss the minimum two weeks or only slightly more, according to Maddon.
RHP Brandon Gomes (right lat strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 8 and is expected to be ready on, or close to, his eligible date on May 22.
RHP Jeff Niemann (sore right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 28, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on April 16. He had season-ending surgery April 10 to repair his rotator cuff and labrum. The expected recovery time is nine-to-12 months.
RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo (Tommy John surgery in September 2012) went on the 60-day disabled list on March 31. He will spend most of the season rehabbing his elbow, with the possibility he could help the Rays in September. Plus, the team holds a 2014 option.
RHP Jeremy Hellickson
RHP Roberto Hernandez
LHP Matt Moore
RHP Alex Cobb
RHP Jake Odorizzi
RHP Fernando Rodney (closer)
RHP Joel Peralta
LHP Jake McGee
RHP Kyle Farnsworth
LHP Cesar Ramos
RHP Jamey Wright
RHP Josh Lueke
1B James Loney
2B Kelly Johnson
SS Yunel Escobar
3B Evan Longoria
DH Luke Scott
INF Ryan Roberts
INF/OF Sean Rodriguez
LF Sam Fuld
CF Desmond Jennings
RF Ben Zobrist
OF Matt Joyce