Why have the Rays lost five straight heading into today?
There were several theories in the clubhouse, starting with manager Joe Maddon saying the Rays were mentally fatigued, that they had "been playing really hard, and with a lot of emotion, for a long time," and the All-Star break was coming "at the right time."
Starter James Shields said they were physically tired, "pretty much spent" from playing so many tough teams.
Leftfielder Carl Crawford attributed it to bad timing, saying it's "rare to have a whole offense really struggling at the same time."
All are possible explanations. What say you, Scott Kazmir?
"We've got to worry about ourselves and concentrate on what's going on in front of us," Kazmir said before Friday's game. "You see guys coming in right from playing on defense and they're like, 'What's the Boston score? What's the Boston score?' That's not how you're supposed to do it."
Kazmir goes on to basically emphasize the point; that the team's poor efforts have resulted from a sense of complacency about their standing and a lack of focus on the task at hand.
Though what Kazmir says may be true, I'm a bit leery to assign any one factor all of the blame for the Rays' ineptitude over the last several days. In any case, the All-Star break can't get here soon enough. Hopefully we can salvage a split of the series, or at least a split of the next two games.
- SS Jason Bartlett might not be ready to return when eligible to come off the DL next Friday. If he is not activated on that date, he should be within a couple days thereafter.
RHP Al Reyes saw his fastball velocity sit in the high 80s in a rehab outing on Thursday for Vero Beach. He will throw on Sunday and Monday for the V-Rays, and could be activated after that.
- RHP Troy Percival will throw off of a mound today for the first time since going on the DL.