Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays' Carlos Peña slumping again

TORONTO — Typically, 1B Carlos Peña's struggles occur because he's swinging at and missing too many pitches.

Now he's slumping because he's hitting the wrong pitches.

"Without being too specific, I see him swinging at pitches now that he had not been swinging at. And now he's putting these into play, and they're not being put in play with any kind of authority," manager Joe Maddon said.

"He needs to lay off those and get back to the pitches he handles well."

Instead of driving the ball, Peña is popping up and grounding out. And thus, he's not providing much support behind red-hot No. 3 hitter Carl Crawford and relatively warm cleanup man Evan Longoria.

"Getting the middle of this batting order rolling really would make a huge difference over the next couple weeks and then, hopefully, moving forward," Maddon said.

"Those three guys in the middle are our RBI guys, and we've got to get those guys seeing the pitch they like and putting it in play hard. Carl's done a great job of that, and Longo, for the most part, has recently. If we can get the three-headed monster working at the same time, it's good for the Rays. So we'd like to get Carlos back there."

After a decent April, Peña went into an extended funk that dropped his batting average to a season-low .169 on June 5. After building it back up to .214 with a solid 61-game stretch (.254, 18 homers, 44 RBIs), he has fallen off again, going 0-for-September until a fifth-inning single on Wednesday. And after going 0-for-4 with a walk Friday, he is just 1-for-his-past-30, dropping his average to .201.

WOOD CHIPPER: B.J. Upton singled in the first and hit his 17th homer (and fourth in five games) in the fourth.

But when the centerfielder struck out with two on and the score tied in the eighth, he took it out on his bat, bidding a violent goodbye by splintering it on the dugout bat rack.

"It was what have you done for me lately,'' Upton said. "I won that fight.''

PITCHING IN: RHP Wade Davis is eager to get back on the mound today after lasting just five innings (though throwing 103 pitches) on Sunday in Baltimore.

"I feel great," Davis said. "I think that kind of surprised me my last outing. I felt so good that I think maybe I tried to do a little too much and was a little erratic."

Maddon is convinced the Rays will see better out of Davis as well as struggling RHP Jeff Niemann on Sunday.

"(Davis) threw the ball well the last time physically. Niemann did the same thing," Maddon said. "We've just got to get them back out there and be successful, get their confidence back to where it needs to be."

Maddon said he wasn't concerned with RHP Matt Garza's mention of experiencing "September soreness" after Wednesday's rough start.

"Physically, I thought he was fine," Maddon said "He was not throwing the ball where he wanted to throw it."

MINOR MATTERS: Class A Charlotte lost Game 1 of the best-of-five Florida State League championship series at home 5-2 to Tampa (Yankees). Deivis Maravez gave up four runs (two earned) and walked five over two innings. Game 2 is tonight in Port Charlotte, then the series shifts to Tampa. … Triple-A Durham lost Game 3 of the best-of-five opening round International League playoffs at home 2-1 to Louisville (Reds). RHP Alex Cobb, just promoted from Double-A Montgomery, allowed two runs and three hits while striking out 10 over 62/3 innings. Louisville leads the series 2-1 with Game 4 tonight at Durham.

TIME CHANGE: The Sept. 18 game against the Angels was moved back from 6:10 to 7:10 due to logistical issues involving Adam Lambert's postgame concert. There is still no local TV coverage of the game.

PENNANT FEVER? As of Friday afternoon, the Rays said tickets remained available in all seating categories for all three games with the Yankees, including Monday's featuring the David Price-CC Sabathia matchup.

MISCELLANY: The Rays improved to 5-17 on Fridays. … The Rays' previous six-run first inning was Aug. 31, 2009, at Detroit. … The Rays and the city of Clearwater will team to renovate two baseball fields at Ross Norton Park. … The Rogers Centre roof was open with a first-pitch temperature of 57 degrees.

Tampa Bay Rays' Carlos Peña slumping again 09/10/10 [Last modified: Saturday, September 11, 2010 3:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Former Gator Caleb Brantley paying a steep price for nothing


    It turns out Caleb Brantley isn't quite the dirtbag that millions of people presumed. It's too bad the damage to his reputation and bank account is already done.

    Caleb Brantley, who dropped to the sixth round of the draft, works out during Browns rookie minicamp. [Associated Press]
  2. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo (25) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) as he rounds third on his lead off home run in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, May 22, 2017.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    OF/DH Corey Dickerson missed out on a good birthday gift when AL player of the week honors went instead to Detroit's J.D. Martinez. Dickerson hit .385 with five homers, nine RBIs and nine runs; Martinez went .389-4-9-7 and got the nod.

  4. Rays journal: Alex Cobb learning to work with what he has



    If this were 2012 or 2013, even 2014, RHP Alex Cobb would have problems. He would find himself working with only two of his three pitches, with the missing pitch being his trusty changeup.

    Alex Cobb, working mainly with his fastball and curveball, is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA over his past five starts. The Rays right-hander tries to continue his strong stretch tonight against the Angels.
  5. Rays vs. Angels, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Angels

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)