BOSTON – Rays manager Joe Maddon said his players are in good spirits despite the pummeling they took Friday afternoon in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Before batting practice, several of his them were in Fenway’s outfield playing Frisbee.
“The thing I preach from the first day of spring training is, I want to play the same game, regardless if it’s March 15, June 11, or October 15, whatever it is,” Maddon said Saturday afternoon, before Game 2.
“I really don’t want us to change anything, ever . . . even though the game has more magnitude or whatever. . . . I don’t want them to change their routine. If you got out and play Frisbee, go ahead and play with Frisbee. I really don’t care.
“So I want to believe that we will go out and play with the typical looseness that we do.”
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The Rays have had three do-or-die games in the last week, and Saturday’s could be called a must-win also.
“I always thought that pressure is a good thing,” Maddon said. “I remember preaching that thought in Instructional Leagues in Mesa, Ariz., for years. If the word ‘pressure’ is being utilized, that’s probably good, because something good is going on, something significant has the potential to happen. So, I like those moments. And I think David [Price, Saturday's starter] does, also. I think our players do.
“Again, if you hear the word ‘pressure’ being bandied about a lot, normally something significant can happen in a positive way. Don’t look at it as a negative. Look at it to spur yourself into more positive conclusions,. I’ve always liked that. I know David does. I think our players have grown to like that thought or moment. Since we’ve been able to flip our culture several years ago, we expect to be in this position on an annual basis. So what better venue than this one right here?
“Yesterday was a tough game. I really believe our players will be ready to play today.”
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Ben Zobrist has a nine-game postseason hitting streak, tying B.J. Upton for the longest postseason hitting streak in Rays history.
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James Loney’s .333 (23-for-69) career postseason batting average ranks third among players currently in the postseason (with a minimum of 50 at-bats) behind St. Louis’ Carlos Beltran (.353) and David Freese (.345)