Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Maddon on the offensive
Posted Apr 15, 2008 by Marc Lancaster
Updated Apr 14, 2008 at 11:23 PM
Interesting postgame session with Joe Maddon tonight. As all of you are aware by now, he generally seeks to point out the positive even after many losses, and tonight’s game seemed an easy opportunity to do so, what with the comeback from a 7-1 deficit.
Maddon acknowledged his appreciation that the Rays kept battling, but focused most of his postgame remarks on everything they had done wrong—with Al Reyes’ hanging changeup to Robinson Cano nowhere on the list (“That happens,” said Maddon).
“I loved the fight, the enthusiasm – there’s a lot of grit among our group,” Maddon said. “But we have to stop making the mental mistakes that do not permit us to win games like tonight, and that’s what I’m most upset about. Otherwise, you saw a lot of really good things tonight, saw a lot of skillful young athletes participate in a major-league game tonight. But if we’re going to win this thing, if we’re going to win games like this, we can’t make those mistakes. They’ve got to go away.”
Maddon was specifically upset about four different aspects of tonight’s game:
* Andy Sonnanstine’s pitch selection and approach in general
(Maddon: “When he utilizes his fastball, he’s pretty good. Today he was just trying to trick them a little too much.”)
* Sonnanstine failing to execute a pitchout as the Yankees put on a hit-and-run with Melky Cabrera running and Chad Moeller at the plate in the fourth inning
(Sonnanstine: “I thought that was a big turning point.”)
* Sonnanstine walking ninth-place hitter Alberto Gonzalez in the same inning
(Maddon: “That’s not a good play.”)
* B.J. Upton getting thrown out stealing third down 7-2 with runners on first and second and nobody out in the sixth
(Maddon: “A lot of our guys have green lights, actually. It’s just game situation. It’s probably my fault; I’ve just got to do a better job of explaining things.”)
Upton’s explanation for his attempt to steal was that Ian Kennedy had been starting Eric Hinske off with changeups all night and he thought he could get a good jump.
“Probably not a good situation to steal,” he acknowledged.
To sum up, Maddon went back to his original theme:
“We did a lot of mental things today that were inappropriate, but we did play it hard and we did play it well in a lot of other arenas tonight, so I’m really pleased with the effort. If we keep playing like that, we’re going to win a lot of games this year. But to beat the better teams when it gets to crunch time, you cannot make those kind of mental mistakes. Those have to go away.”