Jake McGee and the Rays bullpen got a welcome rest Sunday with David Price's complete game. JASON BEHNKEN/STAFF
BY NICK WILLIAMS Tribune staff
Published: July 7, 2013
Updated: July 8, 2013 at 06:56 AM
ST. PETERSBURG - LHP David Price's complete game Sunday gave the bullpen a chance to rest, at least a little.
Rays manager Joe Maddon had LHP Jake McGee warm up in the bullpen before the eighth inning, and Fernando Rodney warmed up for the ninth. Both pitched Saturday against the White Sox.
"That does matter in the grand scheme of things, but you can't let them go out there naked under those circumstances," Maddon said. "That's part of the life for the bullpen guy and then from the managerial seat where, that's the one area I worry about daily more than anything is those guys, how much they've thrown and with the season in progress, how much does that matter. Even though they did not get in, it still matters that they warmed up, but they have to under those circumstances."
Maddon said he didn't expect the team's first complete-game performance to come just a week before the All-Star break, but dipping into the bullpen has been necessary.
"You would have bet earlier, no question about that, but I'll take it," he said. "It's just been an awkward beginning for us regarding the pitching. It's not been where we're normally accustomed to, and now it's starting to show up. And if we finish well, I'll take it. It's definitely within our abilities. It's been primarily because our starters have been off a little bit.
"Getting David back and Alex (Cobb) just having a good bullpen the other day, it's starting to look a lot brighter."
Longo relates to Price's return
Third baseman Evan Longoria knows how anxiety can build for a player on the disabled list. In 2012, Longoria missed 85 games with a partially torn left hamstring, during which time the Rays went 41-44.
So, when Price performed well in his return to action Tuesday, Longoria understood why it was possible.
"I know the feeling," Longoria said. "He's wanted it more than anybody to come back, and not really to prove anybody wrong, but just to kind of justify everything for himself and just be out there and contribute and to feel like you're a part of the team again. That's the most meaningful thing, is that we just have him back and he's out there and healthy."
Loney's streak ends
First baseman James Loney owned a 16-game hitting streak entering Sunday's game, but he saw that streak end when he went 0-for-3.
His hitting streak, during which he batted .406, was a career high that tied Longoria for the team high this season. The longest hitting streak in club history is 19 games by Jason Bartlett in 2009.
Loney was tied with Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury for the longest active streak in the American League and second longest in the majors behind the Dodgers' Hanley Ramirez (17).
Loney almost extended that streak on a hard-hit ball to left field in the sixth inning, but Chicago's Casper Wells made a sliding catch for the out.
"Yeah, I'm disappointed," Loney said. "Could have had an inside-the-park home run on that long ball."