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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Rangers 2, Rays 0: Maddon blunt afterwards
Posted Aug 31, 2011 by Roger Mooney
Updated Aug 31, 2011 at 12:45 AM
ARLINGTON, Tx The Rays offense didn’t put up much of a fight through eight innings Tuesday at Rangers Ballpark. Then came the ninth, and the fight that manager Joe Maddon loves to talk about showed up.
San Fuld opened the inning with a pinch-hit single of Rangers closer Neftali Feliz.
Desmond Jennings walked.
Two-on, no outs, Johnny Damon coming to the plate.
Things didn’t go so well after that. Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler turned a dropped fly ball into shallow right field into a force play at second, and Evan Longoria hit into a game-ending double play.
The Rays lost 2-0 and fell to 8 ½ games behind the Wild Card-leading Yankees.
Normally Maddon would have praised the fight, lauding the ill-fated ninth inning effort.
Not this time.
Maddon was blunt in his assessment of the Rays 13th shutout of the season.
“Too many of these games,” Maddon said. “Too many 1-0, 2-0 losses. We got to get beyond that. There are no excuses. We got to find ways to score runs against some of these guys.”
When asked what can be done for his offensively challenged offense to challenge more offense, he said, “It’s just one of those things, you got to find something, find another gear and pull it out somehow. You almost got to will getting hits. It’s almost beyond any kind of mechanic. You just to got to beat the other guy. Like when you played Little League, you just wanted to beat the other guy. It wasn’t about mechanics. We just have to somehow find something within our reserve tanks, figure out a way to get the these guys, because we’re playing way too well.”
Maddon is good at getting his message out there, win or lose, so you wonder what kind of message was behind those comments.
Is he taking a shot at hitting coach Derek Shelton?
Is he taking a shot at his hitters, who have been instructed on what to do and when to do it, but either can’t or won’t?
Time is running out for the Rays, who have 28 games left on the schedule, 28 games to catch a team that is 8 ½ games in front of them for the final playoff spot.
“Time is running out because of games like this,” Maddon said.
Here are a couple of notes:
—Jeremy Hellickson suffered his 10th loss despite throwing his 16th quality start. He has now received zero or one run of support in 10 games this season, nine of which were losses.
—The Rangers outfield recorded one putout the entire game and that came in the seventh inning when Ben Zobrist flied out to center field.
—It could have been worse, because the Rangers left the bases loaded twice, stranded nine runners and were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.