Tampa Bay Rays
Rays notes: Trying to 'move on' from series opener
ST. PETERSBURG -
After the most grievous home collapse in franchise history, the Rays vowed to rise above the ashes of Monday night's 8-7 setback.
“We've got to find a way to come out with energy and put last night's game behind us,” said 3B Evan Longoria, whose third career grand slam became a footnote once the Blue Jays rallied from a 7-0 deficit after three innings.
DH Luke Scott said Tampa Bay approached Tuesday's rematch with selective memory.
“You forget the results of that game, but you remember how it happened and make sure that kind of thing doesn't happen again,” said Scott, who added a two-run homer Monday during Tampa Bay's seven-run third inning against Mark Buehrle.
Rays manager Joe Maddon credited Buehrle for being mentally tough in lasting six innings while Toronto chipped away.
In Peoria, Ill., 1,174 miles away from Tropicana Field, Rays RF Ben Zobrist watched Monday night's drama unfold from the home of his parents.
“We watched part of the game on TV — it was hard to take in the living room,” said Zobrist, who left the Rays for two days to be with family and attend funeral services for his grandmother, Dorothy.
Maddon said he was confident the Rays would quickly rebound from their largest blown lead in any loss at Tropicana Field.
“We're pretty good about putting yesterday behind us, good or bad,” Maddon said. “We had a couple of tough losses at K.C. that were no fun, either. But this one was a little bit more exaggerated by the 7-0 lead and, of course, it stings a little bit. It's a loss … move on. This is a great test of us practicing what we preach, so I'm looking forward to (Tuesday's) game.”
Keep it rolling Matt Moore's rocky Grapefruit League outings had some Tampa Bay fans wondering about the 23-year-old southpaw, but a 5-0 start has quelled those concerns.
Moore set the club record for April ERA (1.13) and wins (5), and he is slated to make his seventh start of the season tonight against the Blue Jays.
“It's a nice start, but the guys are scoring six or seven runs on the days I pitch,” said Moore, who has limited opponents to a .089 batting average in his first two starts at the Trop. “We definitely feel we can play much better than we have been. A couple of games have gotten away from us and we've had some weird things happen to us at the end of games.”
Scary numbers Jake McGee was one of baseball's most effective relievers in 2012, but this season is a different story.
McGee, who posted a 5-2 record and a 1.95 ERA last year, entered Tuesday's game with a 10.64 ERA, yielding 17 hits, eight walks and three home runs in 11 innings. McGee allowed a two-run homer to Mark DeRosa during Monday's huge comeback by the Blue Jays.
Still, Maddon doesn't appear concerned with McGee, a 26-year-old lefty who held right-handed batters to a .098 average last year, compared to a .353 mark in 2013.
“I really like the way he's throwing the ball right now,” Maddon said. “If he threw it in better spots, I think he'd have more success, but he's had a lot of bad luck. I gave Jake a big hug today when he walked through the door.”
Noteworthy The Rays were 34-0 last year when scoring seven runs or more. … Tampa Bay is 7-14 against right-handed starters. … Rays 1B James Loney celebrated his 29th birthday with a first-inning single.