If that 2-7 road trip humbled the Rays a bit, you couldn’t tell from their remarks before Friday night’s home matchup against the sizzling A’s.
Tampa Bay lurched into Tropicana Field at 5-10 after a disappointing trek to Texas, Boston and Baltimore left the Rays six games behind the Red Sox in the American League East.
It’s their worst 15-game getaway in
“You never want to see a road trip like that, ever, but that’s baseball,’’ said
The Rays lost four games by one run and batted .196 on the trip, including a .114 average with runners in scoring position.
“You just keep grinding,’’ said DH
Under the radar While San Francisco fans are celebrating two World Series titles in the past three years, their baseball neighbors in the East Bay are off to an impressive start.
Averaging six runs per game, the A’s entered Friday night’s matchup with the AL’s best record at 12-4, including a 6-0 mark on the road.
“They’re playing the game properly, and they’re a lot like us,’’ Maddon said. “They pitch really well, they play hard and they have this belief that they’re going to win the close games.’’
Two former Rays, C
“They’ve got a really good lineup 1-through-9,’’ said
The Maddon touch One of the reasons the Rays aren’t overly concerned about their sluggish start is the stoic nature of the man making out the lineup card.
“I’ve played for a lot of managers in my career,’’ Duncan said, “and they are usually the guy that players feed off. I’ve had managers that panicked and ones that don’t walk in with the same confidence every day. It’s different with Joe. He’s relaxed and he’s the same guy every day. That helps a lot … you find the bad spells aren’t as long as they normally would be.’’
Rodriguez said Maddon’s even keel is critical when facing adversity.
“As players, when your manager starts to press, that’s usually when you start to press,’’ Rodriguez said. “We feed off his mojo.’’
Noteworthy Rays top prospect OF