04/14/2013 1:41 PM ET
Rays working to create more offense
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Entering Sunday's contest, the Rays were 1-3 on the current road trip despite pitching to a 2.88 ERA. At the other end of the spectrum, the offense has hit just .169 in its last five games, with eight runs scored, no home runs and only six extra-base hits. Tampa Bay has been outscored, 26-8, and is 3-for-36 with runners in scoring position, including no hits in its last 17 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
"We have to really start to become unselfish," Evan Longoria said. "Even if it's the 2-3-4 guys in the lineup, if we're not producing runs, if you're not up there swinging the bat hot, hitting the ball out of the ballpark or driving the ball in the gap and producing runs that way, then it might be time to start thinking about doing the little things that we've done to be successful -- just moving the guy, trying to make a conscious effort to hit the ball the other way or lay down a bunt, whatever it is.
"We've talked about from the beginning how we're not a team that can rely on a three-run home run every night. Again, look at the score [in Saturday's 2-1 loss]. One run would have been the difference in the game in the ninth inning."
Joe Maddon has experienced having a lackluster offense in the past, so the Rays manager was asked if he would try to do anything to help kickstart the offense into gear.
"You'd like to do different things," Maddon said. "Like we do run on the bases, we do run and hit-and-run moments. We had so few baserunners [Saturday], you have to have enough baserunners and you have to have the right runners and the right hitters to try different things -- guys who are going to make contact. And the pitcher has to cooperate by being a strike thrower. There's different things you can do to try and encourage movement, but you have to have people out there to create movement with."
Given the current offensive tailspin, Maddon pointed to the obvious as the heart of the problem.
"When you're 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position, that's really the true tale," Maddon said. "It goes beyond everything else."
Rays set for another Patriots' Day in Boston
BOSTON -- On Monday, the Rays will make their second consecutive Patriots' Day appearance at Fenway Park, which will be their third in the last four years and fourth overall.
The Rays' 3-0 record is the best among visitors. Kansas City is the only other team that is undefeated on Patriots' Day (1-0).
Last season, James Shields and Fernando Rodney combined on a 1-0, four-hit win in the contest that traditionally has had an 11:05 a.m. ET start. In 2010, Jeff Niemann defeated John Lackey, 8-2, and in 1999, Rolando Arrojo defeated Bret Saberhagen, 4-1.
The Rays have allowed only three runs in 27 innings and held the Red Sox to a .167 average on Patriots' Day.
Jeremy Hellickson will start for the Rays on Monday, and the right-hander is a notoriously late sleeper. In preparation for the start, he said he planned on going to bed earlier than usual on Sunday night.
"I don't know what else I can do," Hellickson said. "I think Spring Training and these last few days probably helped a little bit. Luckily I'm still kind of on the Spring Training schedule. But it's going to be early."
Hellickson noted that he normally gets up about the time he'll be going to the mound on Monday morning.
"Everybody says it looks like I'm sleeping out there anyway," Hellickson said with a chuckle.
Hellickson plans on getting up at 7 a.m. on Monday and getting to the ballpark by 8. When asked who has the advantage in a morning contest, the hitters or the pitchers, Hellickson shrugged his shoulders.
"I don't know," Hellickson said. "I think we're both going to be pretty tired out there. Hopefully there's some shadows creeping around."
• Tampa Bay pitcher Brandon Gomes faced former Ray Jonny Gomes in Saturday's game, making for the third encounter between the pair. Jonny walked Saturday, giving him a 0-for-0 line against Brandon, who hit Jonny and walked him in their previous two meetings.
• The Boston Marathon will be run on Monday morning, and the general feeling inside the Rays' clubhouse was that nobody on the team could run a marathon. However, several players noted that former Rays right-hander Wade Davis probably could have.
• The Rays will wear No. 42 during their games on Monday and Tuesday to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day, April 15. The Rays have worn No. 42 each year since 2008, and have gone 1-3 with one suspended game while wearing the No. 42s.
• With six innings pitched and one earned run in Saturday's no-decision, David Price has ascended where no lefty has gone in Fenway Park since 1921. Price lowered his career ERA at Fenway to 2.13. In doing so, he surpassed Washington Senators southpaw Bobby Burke's 2.19 ERA as the lowest against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.