(SportsNetwork,com) - The Tampa Bay Rays are slumping, but it's not all that's gone wrong.
The Rays enter the finale of a four-game series with the Miami Marlins on Thursday afternoon at Tropicana Field in the midst of a nine-game losing streak.
Tampa Bay hasn't had a prolonged drought on this level since 2009, when they dropped 11 straight in September en route to an 84-win season. The Rays have finished above .500 every year since reaching the World Series in 2008, but have the worst record in the majors -- 23-37 -- through 60 games in 2014.
Things got worse after Wednesday's loss, when players were told that former advisor and coach Don Zimmer had died at age 83.
"Zim was a great man, and there are no words to explain what he brought to us and what he meant to me. It's just been a rough go for us, and this kind of is the icing on the cake, so to speak," Evan Longoria said. "I know that he would want us to continue on and just honor him by doing all the things that he preached to us, playing the game the right way and playing the game hard."
Things hadn't gotten any better during Wednesday's game.
The Rays made an error in the third inning that led to a decisive home run, failed to score from third base while down a run in the ninth and were erased on three double plays.
They've gone 31 straight at-bats without a hit with runners in scoring position.
Tampa Bay will equal the worst losing skid in the majors this season with another loss.
Right-hander Jake Odorizzi makes the start with a chance to end the drought. He gave up a run in six innings while getting a no-decision against Boston two starts ago, then was clubbed for five runs in 3 1/3 innings of a 7-1 loss to the Red Sox on Saturday.
Miami enters the series finale in the chase for the National League's East Division lead, which they can stay in with a strong effort from starter Jacob Turner.
Turner's managed just one win in his last 19 starts, though, and was a 9-5 loser to Atlanta in the start following that win -- allowing five runs in five innings.
He's 1-10 in those 19 starts.
On Wednesday, Donovan Solano's three-run homer helped the Marlins take a 5-4 edge over the Rays.
Giancarlo Stanton went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored and Casey McGehee drove in a run for the Marlins. Tom Koehler (5-5) earned the win after giving up three runs on six hits with four strikeouts across five frames.
Ben Zobrist and Longoria supplied back-to-back homers and Matt Joyce went 3- for-3 for the Tampa Bay. David Price (4-5) was tagged with the loss after giving up five runs -- one earned -- on nine hits with 11 strikeouts across 7 1/3 frames.
Miami lost all four meetings with Tampa Bay last season. The Marlins ended a five-game slide in this series Monday.