Rays acknowledge Game 1 jitters
Red Sox DH Ortiz observed different attitude by young club
ST. PETERSBURG -- David Ortiz's comments after Game 1 of the American League Championship Series inferred that the Rays looked a little uptight to the veteran Red Sox DH -- and Rays manager Joe Maddon agreed.
Shortly after the Red Sox took a 2-0 win in the opening game of the series, Ortiz talked about the Rays' demeanor.
"I saw faces tonight different than what I [saw] in the regular season. I don't blame nobody," Ortiz said. "There's a lot of pressure right now in this game because you know you have to win. Otherwise you go home. That relaxed kind of thing that you have during the regular season, it wasn't out there tonight."
On Saturday afternoon, Maddon caught everybody off-guard with his answer when asked about Ortiz's comments.
"I agree, and I did see it," Maddon said. "That's why I thought it primarily manifested itself in the pitches that we swung at. However, they had kind of the same look themselves. It was a very close game. It was 2-0. I think both teams played a relatively good game. Neither team played well on offense. That happens sometimes.
"Both starting pitchers were fantastic. That was our first foray into that situation yesterday, and I'd like to believe we're going to come out and be more typical today. But I can't disagree with him."
Maddon might not have disagreed with Ortiz, but Rays players didn't think they had a case of nerves Friday night.
"I didn't feel that way," Rays outfielder Gabe Gross said. "I can't speak for anybody else. I just didn't feel like that was a factor.
"David might be trying to make us think about it a little bit more than we would have otherwise by saying that. I didn't feel like we were any more [nervous] than at any other part in time."
Veteran Cliff Floyd said he wasn't offended in the least by Ortiz's comments.
"No, this is playoff baseball," Floyd said. "If you start to worry about what people say, then that messes up what we've done the whole season. We haven't cared about what one person said the whole year. We weren't supposed to win and get this far. Is it pressure baseball? Yes. If you don't win, you go home. But does it change how you play? I don't think so. Not one bit. Maybe he saw something that he hadn't seen during the course of the season."
Floyd said the comments might have involved a little gamesmanship by Ortiz.
"Why not?" Floyd said. "Anything that can get into your head. ... If you'd have come in the trainer's room yesterday, you'd have thought we won. That's how we are. Is it different? Of course, you don't want to lose the first game, lose home-field advantage. Had we won the game, would he have said anything about the faces? It is what it is. And I love him as a player. I love him as a person. But I don't know where he was going with that one."
Evan Longoria acknowledged the Rays might have pressed some against starter Daisuke Matsuzaka as the game progressed.
"I think later in the game, probably yeah," Longoria said. "Dice-K had a no-hitter going. Pressing to just get a hit, I guess. It's possible. But I think we're better today and ready to be focused and get it going again."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.