For Rays, it's the day after
The Rays were obviously happy to get out of Oakland after Sunday's embarassing effort in Dallas Braden's perfect game, but it's not like Anaheim has been the happiest place on earth for them, what with a 1-13 record under Joe Maddon and 14-40 overall.
The keys is going to be getting their bats going again, as they have hit only .189 over the last nine games, and been fortunate to go 5-4 during that stretch. There are concerns thoughout the lineup, as Carlos Pena is down to .183, B.J. Upton to .225, Carl Crawford in an 0-for-12 and Ben Zobrist still without a home run.
Here's what hitting coach Derek Shelton said after Sunday's perfect game:
"I’m not really worried about us getting hits. I think in one game we got six hits but walked seven times, so our approach stayed consistent. It’s if we get on base and score runs. (Kansas City's Zack) Greinke pitched good against us. (Seattle's Cliff) Lee pitched good against us and we beat him. We beat Greinke 1-0. I think the important thing is our starting pitching has been so good it keeps us in games when we don’t hit good. Even today, we give up four runs. We lose yesterday 4-2 and we’re in the game. I think it’s a credit to how good our pitching is. I think that’s the most important thing. I think that’s how we’re going to win or lose with our starting pitcher.''
When the Rays were perfect-gamed by Chicago's Mark Buehrle last year, they rebounded well, winning the first two games in Toronto and going on an 8-4 run. How do teams usually fare after such an event? Here's a look, albeit a little bit complicated, put together by raysindex.com.
The Angels are reeling a bit too, limping home after a 2-10 road trip. And, for what it's worth, it will be Japan Day at Anaheim Stadium, in honor of Hideki Matsui.
Among some of the more interesting tidbits from Sunday uncovered by ESPN's research staff was this one:
With a 22-8 record entering the game, the Rays had the highest winning percentage of a team that fell victim to a perfect game.
And one leftover from the Rays clubhouse was Evan Longoria defending his attempt to break up the perfect game with a fifth-inning bunt, saying it didn't violate any of baseball's unwritten rules. And it should be noted that Braden had no issue with it, calling it "an intelligent play.'' Here's some of what Longoria said:
"I didn’t think so. He didn’t seem to upset by it either. Obviously, he understood what he had going. He had everybody off-balance. I figured I’d try to take the opportunity there, maybe it stays fair and we get a runner on. At that point, you’re really not thinking about the guy's perfect game or no-hitter, you’re just trying to get back into the game. It was a manageable game. Get somebody on and try and score. Again it didn’t work out. He pitched a good game. ''
Rays manager Joe Maddon also thought it was a good idea: "We're trying to score runs there, we're not just trying to permit him to go into the record books. Our intent is to win the game and if he gets it down who knows what could have happened. So that's another of those unwritten rules that I'm not a subscriber to. If you want to prohibit it, just play your third baseman in. Both sides have the ability to do whatever they want. I believe if you're trying to beat the other team and that's your best way to do it then you do it."