Maddon: Pena shouldn't be "whipping boy" or "lightning rod" for offensive failures
Manager Joe Maddon came strongly to the defense of struggling 1B Carlos Pena on Wednesday, saying the .188-hitting Pena should not be considered the "whipping boy" or "lightning rod" for the team's offensive struggles.
"I refuse to let people just jump on Carlos,'' Maddon said.
Pena came into Maddon's office after Tuesday's game to initiate what became a 30-minute talk, about hitting, his performance and eventually broader subjects such as literature.
"I understand that he's not necessarily played to the level that he thought or that we thought, but I refuse to use him as a lightning rod for anything that's going awry with our offense right now,'' Maddon said.
Maddon reiterated his view that Pena is affected dramatically by the defensive shifts teams use against him, and acknowledged that Pena's "confidence has take a hit based on a lot of well-struck balls being outs. That's the best way i can describe it.'' Maddon said Pena can help himself by doing a better job or "organizing his strike zone'' - swinging at strikes and taking balls - and going to the plate with the approach of not making an out as opposed to trying to get a hit.
Further, Maddon said: "I really try to look at the good with the bad and try to balance it out as well as I possibly can. For me, there is no whipping boy on this team. We win together, we lose together. Right now, we're just coming off this great streak and we were the next best thing since the '27 Yankees and all of a sudden we lose four tough games and everybody's going negative-town on us, negative-ville. I ain't going there man.''