Tampa Bay Rays Scoreless Streak Reaches 28 Innings in Shutout vs. Cardinals

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2014

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The Tampa Bay Rays have set a new record for offensive futility after getting shut out by the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night, per SportsCenter:

The defeat is Tampa Bay's 14th in its last 15 games, per Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times:

Going 28 scoreless innings breaks the old franchise record of 26 innings, set in 2002, when the team finished tied for the worst record in baseball at 55-106, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times:

The Rays are also the first American League team in a decade to be shut out three games in a row:

After the game, Joe Maddon talked about his team's struggles with The Associated Press (per ESPN):

It's kind of weird to watch because it just doesn't stay that negative for that long normally. It just doesn't but it has. This is truly one of those anomaly moments where we've got to stick together as a group.

If you're wondering how this could happen, Tampa Bay was hitting .100 in its last 100 at-bats with runners in scoring position when Ben Zobrist flied out in the bottom of the first:

Tampa Bay actually outhit St. Louis on Tuesday night, 8-3.

The Rays stranded Evan Longoria on second base in the bottom of the first inning. They also squandered runners on second and third with one out in the bottom of the fourth. Kevin Kiermaier's ground-rule double to start off the bottom of the eighth was spoiled when nobody could drive him in.

It should be no surprise that as a result of this dry spell and general malaise, the Rays have slumped to last in the AL East, 15 games back of the Toronto Blue Jays. Their 24-42 record is the worst in the major leagues, as is their run differential of minus-55.

Tampa Bay will score sooner or later, but the damage has already been done for this season. The door has essentially closed on the postseason.

Assuming the Rays feel they have no chance to contend, it could have a ripple effect on the rest of the league if they ultimately decide to deal ace David Price before the trade deadline.