Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida
By ANDREW ASTLEFORD  |  Last updated 8/13/13
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Leave it to right-hander Chris Archer, a cerebral and deep voice, to place the Tampa Bay Rays' six-game losing streak into unexpected perspective. "The oldest, most wise things in nature need a little weather to continue to grow -- and that's a tree," he said after the Rays' 5-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field. "So as long as a team, we can weather the storm and get through this rough patch of games, we're going to be all right. We're still in the hunt. We're not too far behind Boston. We're on top the wild card. Everything in nature has to go through a little bit of weathering in order to grow." Continuing the metaphor, this slump is too brief to call it a storm. But there are darker clouds present that were absent over the past month. The Rays, baseball's hottest team before the All-Star break, a squad that went 8-2 on a road trip against American League East opponents to start the season's second half, suddenly find themselves living their worst losing streak in two years. Momentum has shifted. Tampa Bay dropped to 66-51 and has lost six consecutive games for the first time since losing its first six of the 2011 season. The reason for the latest defeat can be blamed on the same area like others during this slide: pitching. Archer allowed five runs and nine hits, which led to the Rays losing his third consecutive start after winning his previous seven from June 23-July 27. How quickly things change. The Rays have lost eight of their past 10 games after winning 19 of 22 before then. Pitching has been part of the reason for that outcome, but a lack of production should be blamed as well: Tampa Bay has averaged only 2.8 runs per game and hit .234 in this stretch. However, some within their clubhouse see silver linings where others see thunderheads. Where some see struggle, the Rays see opportunity. "Life in general, we're all confronted with the same kind of conflicts and moments on a daily basis," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "How we process them makes us different as people. I think it's the same thing with that clubhouse. Baseball teams are confronted with the same kind of problems on a yearly basis, on a nightly basis. What sets teams apart is how you process the conflict. I think we process it well." This was Maddon's message postgame: It's how you handle the moment that matters. He and Archer are correct in that perspective is needed in any streak, positive or negative, just as it was wise to proceed with caution as the Rays ripped opponents in July. Now Tampa Bay finds itself living the opposite extreme, though the Rays have a margin of error to manage given their previous success. They trail the Red Sox by four games in the AL East, and they are a game behind Oakland for the top wild card spot. Both are manageable deficits. This is August. There is time. Above all, that must be remembered. As was the case when the Rays sprinted through July, the calendar must be accounted for when analyzing their state. Of course, they cannot continue their current level of play and contend with the Red Sox or A's or Orioles or others that rise to threaten in the AL Wild Card race. They cannot expect to be mediocre and gain memorable results. Starting pitching must improve. The offensive "swarm" must return. The confidence must come back. They must be better. "This team is good at coming back the next day and going about business as usual," said Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist, who went 2 for 5 with two home runs and three RBI. "I don't doubt it's going to end soon. ... It does seem like when it rains, it pours, and it's one thing after another. But when you get on a hot streak, good things start happening, too, so you have to take the good with the bad." Those are wise words. There is balance in any season: Some good, some bad, the sour and sweet. How the Rays weather this stretch, and more importantly react to it, will reveal much about them. You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Tickets for 49ers-Rams game at Levi's going for $14

Aaron Rodgers has funny quote on never beating the Bengals

WATCH: Youth football coaches engage in ugly brawl

Richard Sherman critical of NFL injury report: It is for gamblers

Adidas hooked Giannis Antetokounmpo up with an entire truck full of sneakers

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Carmelo Anthony trade rumors suggest he’s headed to the Rockets soon

John Farrell may use David Price as temporary closer

Marvin Lewis threatens Bengals players with major changes

Robert Grays dies from injury stemming from tackle attempt in CFB game

Winter is coming: Best free agents on MLB contenders

Report: Warriors players, officials perplexed by Kevin Durant’s offseason

The 'MLB is as powerful as ever' quiz

After a decade in the WNBA, MVP Sylvia Fowles is ready for the spotlight

College football 2017 Week 4 predictions

10 teams that can unseat the Warriors for the 2018 NBA championship

NFL Referee Hotline: Mike McCarthy is sick of these calls

The 'Kevin Durant has mad (Twitter) handles' quiz

Baseball's most underwhelming teams of 2017

The 'Remember the tight ends' quiz

Ranking the best college football fan bases

Getaway Day: Time runs short as postseason nears

Sports & Politics Intersect: White House sticks it to sports

The 'Not so elementary, my dear Watson' quiz

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

After a decade in the WNBA, MVP Sylvia Fowles is ready for the spotlight

The 'MLB is as powerful as ever' quiz

10 teams that can unseat the Warriors for the 2018 NBA championship

College football 2017 Week 4 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline: Mike McCarthy is sick of these calls

Baseball's most underwhelming teams of 2017

The 'Kevin Durant has mad (Twitter) handles' quiz

Ranking the best college football fan bases

The 'Remember the tight ends' quiz

Getaway Day: Time runs short as postseason nears

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker