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What to do about a slump ....

There are usually two ways to deal with the type of lengthy offensive slump the Rays find themselves in, and at the unfortunate time of having the pitching-rich White Sox coming to town.

Some managers will literally try almost anything to shake a team out of it, from scrambling the order of the regular hitters in the lineup to actually pulling it out of a hat. (Or, when they are really desperate, asking writers what they would do!) They also will tinker with the batting practice routine, changing the makeup of the hitting groups, the order of the drills, bringing in different pitchers. Some will add extra sessions, some will scrap BP entirely.

Rays manager Joe Maddon, however, is taking an old-school approach. He believes in maintaining consistency, and order, and doesn't want to change things just for the sake of change. Right or wrong, he is steadfast in his belief that the Rays are going to snap out of it, and there is some validity to what he says because all the Rays can't be as bad as they are for much longer. And it's hard to believe that missing Jorge Cantu - as good as he is - could make that much difference. Patience is one of his virtues, thought it surely is being tested.

Which is better approach? That's hard to say, and open for debate. Any thoughts out there?

If the Rays are going to self-improve, Monday's off-day could help. Teams don't have too many days during the season when they are at home without a game and haven't either flown in late the night before or had to fly out that night. In fact, for the Rays, Monday is one of three such off-days, and the other two are not until September.

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:30am]


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