Rays fight through busy 24 hours of ball
Late game Saturday followed by doubleheader Sunday
BOSTON -- Ernie Banks would be jealous.
Including Sunday's doubleheader and Saturday night's rain-shortened 9-1 loss at Fenway Park, the Rays will have played three games in the span of 24 hours against the Red Sox.
For the Rays, Sunday's doubleheader is their second of their current 11-day, 11-game road trip. They lost both games Labor Day against the Yankees in New York to start the trip. The Rays and Red Sox endured 5 1/2 hours of rain delays on Friday and Saturday, which led to the unusual situation the teams found themselves in Sunday.
There were a lot of tired-looking ballplayers in the Rays' clubhouse Sunday morning, few of whom could remember going through anything similar in their playing careers.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said the closest thing he's endured in the Major Leagues came during the 2005 playoffs, when he was the Angels' bench coach.
"We beat the Yankees in New York, had to go back and play Game 5 in Anaheim at 5 o'clock the next day, and then we had to play the White Sox the day after that," Maddon said. "We went from New York to Anaheim to Chicago and won all three games."
Maddon agreed that this weekend's situation did have a Minor League feel, which brought back memories of a rougher situation he encountered.
"I was playing semi-pro ball in 1980 in Boulder, [Colorado] and we played two tripleheaders, back-to-back," Maddon said. "Three doubleheaders scheduled in Sturgis, South Dakota, and the first one was rained out. We had to play two tripleheaders, and had to play two triple headers -- three seven-inning games -- two days in a row."
Saturday night's game was called at 11:55 p.m. ET after five innings, which made the game official. Maddon said he wanted to return and finish the game even though the Rays were down by eight runs.
"I felt like they would have been compelled to leave their starters in, where we could have taken ours out," Maddon said. "And we possibly could have gotten more rest."
Catcher Gregg Zaun said he experienced a similar situation in Detroit one season, and he came up with a simple solution.
"We played an extra-inning game then had a day-night doubleheader the next day," Zaun said. "I spent the night in the clubhouse. It was great. I was the only one there."
Rays player rep Evan Longoria said he wasn't aware of this weekend's situation violating any policies where the Players Association was concerned.
"Nobody said anything," Longoria said. "If we've got to play, we've got to play. I know, at this time of the year, everybody wants to get their games in."
Carl Crawford just shrugged his shoulders when asked about the situation.
"I haven't [experienced anything like this] in the Major Leagues," Crawford said. "Probably did in the Minor Leagues or something. You think this kind of stuff only happens in the Minor Leagues. Unfortunately, it happens up here sometime. Just have to deal with it -- gotta do what you've gotta do."
Zaun did have a comeback for Banks' signature slogan, "Let's play two."
"Ernie Banks wasn't a catcher," Zaun said.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.