ST. PETERSBURG -- With an American League-high 1,264 strikeouts, the Rays' pitching staff now ranks second in league history for a single season and is two whiffs shy of the league record held by the 2001 Yankees.
When asked about the possibility of breaking the strikeout record prior to Thursday's 7-4 win over the Red Sox, manager Joe Maddon asked a gathering of reporters: "Are we on the verge?"
Maddon then inquired, "Our pitchers?"
The confusion was legitimate since Tampa Bay's offense has struck out 1,221 times, putting it on pace to break the AL record for a season held by the 2007 Rays (1,324).
When told it was his pitching staff that is close to setting a record, Maddon noted that "it just speaks to the talent of our guys."
"Also, a lot of it, too, speaks to the health of our guys," Maddon said. "It's primarily been the same group of guys out there this year, except we've had a couple of additions, but it also speaks to a power bullpen, too. They've been outrageous in their contribution.
"So I think it speaks to power pitching and to health throughout the entire group. ... In order to do that, you have to have power from both [starters and relievers]."
Rodriguez making no excuses for rash of errors
ST. PETESBURG -- Sean Rodriguez was activated from the disabled list Saturday after he missed 13 games with a fractured right hand while with Triple-A Durham. He has appeared in three games since his return and he made four errors in his last two games.
When asked about what happened in the field, Rodriguez managed a smile.
"I wouldn't say it's fielding, I'd say it's throwing," said Rodriguez.
All of Rodriguez's errors came while playing third base, and three of the four were throwing errors.
"I had a talk with some of the coaches. I can't give any of the easy excuses that my hand has been broken," Rodriguez said. "That's not who I am, and those are plays that I can make, hands down. Were they necessarily routine plays? For me, yes, and that's how I look at them."
Rodriguez said his assessment of the errors was that he was being too quick.
"I was trying to do everything a little bit fast, in a hurry, when that's never been my style of defense," Rodriguez said. "I've always been nice and smooth, and efficient.
"It wasn't that I was pressing, it wasn't that I was thinking about anything. I think it was just the fact of being away for a little while. Most come back from the DL and get a rehab stint. I didn't feel like I needed one. I still don't feel like I need one. I was little quick."
Sam Fuld continues to be day to day with a mild strain of his right hamstring.
On Friday night, the Rays will team with the Tampa Bay Lightning to promote their 20th anniversary in the National Hockey League. As part of the celebration, all pregame activities and the seventh-inning stretch performances will be related to the Lightning's celebration -- including the ceremonial first pitch from Lightning head coach Guy Boucher.
Carlos Pena drew his 26th career bases-loaded walk in Wednesday night's 13-3 win over the Red Sox. That total ranks Pena third among active players behind Derek Jeter (30), Bobby Abreu (28) and Chipper Jones (26). Pena's 18 bases-loaded walks since 2008 are five more than any other Major League player.
Entering Thursday night's game, the Rays had allowed just 51 home runs at home, which is the second fewest in the Major Leagues behind the Giants. In the last 20 years, only two AL teams have allowed less than 60 home runs at home over a full season: Toronto (2008, 56) and Oakland (2007, 59).
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.