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Sternberg: Critical stretch is here



As most any owner would, Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said he remains confident his team will remain in the race for a playoff spot into September.

But with the Rays opening play Friday at Yankee Stadium only two games over .500 and 6 behind the AL East-leading Red Sox, he made it clear the time is now for them to show what they can do.

"Our best baseball should be ahead of us here, but by the same token. the last couple weeks it was important for us to play a bit better than we have been,'' Sternberg said.

"We've got a stretch ahead of us here where we have the opportunity to really do some good stuff. It's important we play really well from here out to the All-Star break.''

After playing four games here then three each at home against the red-hot Blue Jays and Central power Tigers, the Rays enter arguably the softest part of their schedule - -14 games going into the All-Star break against the Astros, White Sox and Twins, who have three of five worst records in the AL.

Sternberg said to this point, the defense has been the only consistent aspect of the Rays performance, the rest "topsy turvy."

And the key to improvement?

"We have to start replicating offensively what we did in May and we need to start pitching like we know we can pitch,'' he said.

[Last modified: Thursday, June 20, 2013 8:18pm]


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