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 sloppy play and if the Rays have hit rock bottom
Posted May 12, 2012 by Roger Mooney
Updated May 12, 2012 at 11:56 PM
BALTIMORE Are the wheels coming off to this once merry season?
Or are the Rays just going through one of their down cycles where they only look like something other than a playoff contender.
Failures to bunt, hit with runners in scoring position and mistakes on the base paths played major roles in the first three losses on this road trip.
On Saturday, the fielding was particularly inept as the Rays tied a team record with five errors in one game – each by a different fielder, which was a franchise-first – and lost 5-3 to the Orioles at Camden Yards.
How bizarre is that? The Rays can’t field and the first place Orioles are vying with the Dodgers for the best record in the major leagues.
When asked after the game if his team has hit rock bottom, Joe Maddon said, “We’re not even close to the bottom. We’re fine. We’ve lost some really tough games on this road trip. We’ve not hit exceptionally well. We’ve only scored a minimum number of runs during the course of three games in New York and the two games here. So the offense has been down a little bit, and we are getting different people involved, and got to make sure they get acclimated and start picking things up a little bit. But the effort’s been great. We’ve been making mistakes, mental mistakes and physical mistakes, but we’ll work it out.”
Here is some more of what Maddon said after the game, the Rays third straight loss, fourth in five games in this trip and sixth in their last seven games:
On the mistakes that pop up on a nightly basis:
“We’re not executing well. We’re talking about it daily, I promise. We’re trying to workout all the people that are kind of moving around right now, make sure they understand what’s going on. Of course they played their before, but sometimes on the major league level you’re mind still doesn’t catch up.”
On injuries to Evan Longoria and Desmond Jennings and nights off for Carlos Peña and Matt Joyce (though both entered the game) that put a number of players in unfamiliar positions:
“We’re missing some major components, and while we are, we got to get these other guys to pick it up a little bit.”
On the possibility of calling a team meeting:
“Just keep going, boys, keep grinding. The time I get concerned is if the effort is lacking. There is no lack of effort.”