Thursday, January 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays making uncharacteristic mistakes

SEATTLE — The Rays aren't used to this.

Not just that they have a losing record for August and September, but how it's happening, with a lengthy rap sheet of costly mistakes and uncharacteristic misplays.

"This," manager Joe Maddon said Saturday afternoon, "has been our worst baseball all year."

Maddon already felt the players have been tight and trying too hard, and Saturday he suggested that the carryover is showing up on the field.

"Just a little unsure of ourselves," he said.

"We're making mistakes we normally don't make. I don't want to say routine-routine, but they're pretty basic things that we normally do well late in the ballgame and we've just got to get back to not making those mistakes."

The eighth inning of Friday's staggering 6-4 loss to the Mariners was a frustrating microcosm of how it has been going.

In the top half, Sean Rodriguez made the first out by inexplicably getting picked off second, and Evan Longoria made the last out by being too aggressive with the bases loaded, swinging at the first two pitches and grounding out. All told, the Rays got three walks, a single and a pinch-hit RBI double from Luke Scott in the inning yet scored only one run, tying the score at 4.

And that was just a warmup for the bottom of the inning. First centerfielder Desmond Jennings dropped a fly ball (his third error in less than two weeks) to put the go-ahead run on second with one out. Reliever Joel Peralta made it worse by walking Kendrys Morales. And rookie rightfielder Wil Myers completed the festivities by mistiming his dive for Justin Smoak's line drive, the ball bouncing off the heel of his glove to allowed two runs to score.

"We have to be able to make those plays," Maddon said. "To go to the promised land, you've got to be able to do those things."

Maddon noted but had no answers for why they have played poorly on both West Coast road trips (including Arizona), winning only two of the first 13 games. "For whatever reason, we have not adapted well," he said.

Some of the mistakes have been odd, some weird, some hard to explain.

The Rays are going to have to do a lot of things better over the remaining three weeks, specifically in late-game situations.

"Already this year we've talked about that we've lost a lot of games late that we have not normally lost in the past," Maddon said. "I keep saying at some point we've got to stop doing that, and we really do. It's there for us to take. There's a lot of time for us to start playing our best baseball of the year, which I'm anticipating that we will do. We've played badly and we've played really well this year.

"We're normally a good August-September team, but we're not showing up yet."

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays.

Comments
Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at th...
Updated: 12 hours ago
A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

With the start of spring training now less than a month away, here is what the Rays roster looks like, with the most glaring hole at first base, which at this point seems likely to be manned by Brad Miller, and some questions about the pitching staff...
Published: 01/17/18
Rays opener will be late-afternoon affair

Rays opener will be late-afternoon affair

The Rays' March 29 season-opener against the Red Sox has been set for a 4 p.m. first pitch at Tropicana Field.This will be the ninth straight year the Rays have opened at home, and the third time they have opened against the rival Red Sox.  The ...
Published: 01/17/18
Tony Perez, Dick Allen to highlight    Ted Williams museum inductions

Tony Perez, Dick Allen to highlight Ted Williams museum inductions

Hall of Famer Tony Perez and longtime Phillies/White Sox star Dick Allen will be inducted into the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame next month in Clearwater.Former Yankees Cy Young Award winner Ron Guidry and longtime Astros ace J.R. Richard also wi...
Published: 01/16/18
Jones: Besties, Ball and bloopers -- it’s TV tidbits time

Jones: Besties, Ball and bloopers -- it’s TV tidbits time

Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.Best comebackExcuse Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp for getting so carried away that he dropped the queen bee of curse words on live television Sun...
Published: 01/14/18
Jesuit High product Lance McCullers gets big raise, avoids arbitration

Jesuit High product Lance McCullers gets big raise, avoids arbitration

Astros right-hander Lance McCullers, a Tampa native and former Jesuit High standout, reached a one-year deal for $2.45 million on Friday, avoiding arbitration. McCullers, 24, made $548,000 last season.
Published: 01/12/18
Jake Odorizzi, Adeiny Hechavarria lone Rays set for arbitration

Jake Odorizzi, Adeiny Hechavarria lone Rays set for arbitration

ST. PETERSBURG — For the second straight winter, pitcher Jake Odorizzi is taking the Rays to arbitration.Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria will join him.They were the only two of the nine arbitration-eligible Rays to not agree to a one-year contract by Fr...
Published: 01/12/18
Odorizzi, Hechavarria heading to arbitration

Odorizzi, Hechavarria heading to arbitration

The Rays have reached agreements on 2018 contracts with seven of their nine arbitration-eligible players with pitcher Jake Odorizzi and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria heading to arbitration.Odorizzi made $4.1 million last season after taking the R...
Published: 01/12/18
Alex Colome, Corey Dickerson, Jake Odorizzi among Rays’ arbitration-eligible players

Alex Colome, Corey Dickerson, Jake Odorizzi among Rays’ arbitration-eligible players

ST. PETERSBURG — The payroll for the 2018 season will become clearer this afternoon after the Rays and their nine arbitration-eligible players exchange figures on one-year contracts.Those who do not agree to the club’s offer will head to arbitration ...
Published: 01/11/18
Rays announce minor league coaching staffs

Rays announce minor league coaching staffs

Jim Morrison, the one-time manager of the Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs, will return to his old job in Port Charlotte this season.Morrison, the Tampa product, was named as the Stone Crabs manager Wednesday after spending the past four seasons as the ...
Published: 01/10/18