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Rays baffled by poor West Coast performance

Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon walks to the dugout after a pitching change in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) WATW112

Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon walks to the dugout after a pitching change in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) WATW112

SEATTLE — The Rays didn't have answers for why they played so poorly on the West Coast this season.

They rallied Sunday for a third win on a 10-game trek through Oakland, Anaheim and Seattle — "The best 3-7 trip in the history of our organization," manager Joe Maddon joked — after previously going 0-3 in Los Angeles and 0-2 in Phoenix.

"I know the rotation of the Earth is the same, the sunrise and the sunset, I get all that," Maddon said. "But we have just not played our normal Rays baseball out here."

They didn't pitch well on the trip. They were sloppy in the field, allowing six unearned runs. And they were terrible at the plate, scoring only 29 runs total and hitting .177 with runners in scoring position, including a mind-boggling stretch of 10-for-84 before coming through Sunday in a 4-1 win.

How best to sum up the trip?

"Bad," RHP Joel Peralta said. "Very bad. One of our worst."

The only theory Maddon pitched was that as a result of an "awkward" schedule, the Rays didn't go west until August, then made two trips in a month. "I was concerned about coming out here," he said. "We have been on that (east) side of the world for the whole summer. It's kind of unusual that you wait and then you come out here at the very end, like we have."

There's a chance they'll have to come back west this season, whether to face the A's in the AL playoffs or the Dodgers in the World Series. Maddon joked about team sleep exercises or making an intermediate stop in Salinas, Kansas, to break up the flight. "I'm looking forward to the next trip out here," he said. "I hope it's in late October."

MOORE GOOD: LHP Matt Moore was sharp in his second start off the DL, working into the seventh, allowing only a solo homer and throwing 103 pitches, but he was disappointed to not get to pitch deeper into the game. "I definitely felt better as the game went on," Moore said.

CRAIN TRAIN: RHP Jesse Crain said his shoulder "felt good" the day after his first bullpen session, which left him encouraged about pitching during at least the final week of the regular season. "It felt better than it did going into (Saturday), so that's a good sign," he said. He is set to throw again Tuesday.

RIGHT STUFF: Wanting to get as many left-handers in the lineup as possible anyway, Maddon welcomed the chance to give SS Yunel Escobar his first game off since July 22, aside from Escobar being 0-for-his-past-16. … Maddon said having seven right-handed hitters on the bench would be interesting, and it was. He used five to pinch-hit and another to pinch-run.

NOT-SO-MINOR MATTERS: Advanced Class A Charlotte rallied in the ninth on hits by Jeff Malm and Jonathan Quinonez to beat Daytona (Cubs) 3-2 and extend the best-of-five Florida State League final to a fourth game, 6:30 tonight in Port Charlotte. … Triple-A Durham opens the best-of-five International League final at home Tuesday against Boston's Pawtucket team.

MISCELLANY: The Rays notched their fifth win when trailing after seven innings. … Today is the Rays' last offday, with 20 games left. … 1B James Loney had his 12th three-hit game. … Chris Gimenez said he was tagged on what appeared to be a close play at the plate in the ninth. … The Rays face Boston RHP Clay Buchholz on Tuesday in his first start off the DL.

Rays baffled by poor West Coast performance 09/08/13 [Last modified: Sunday, September 8, 2013 11:09pm]
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