05/07/2013 7:55 PM ET
Maddon backs McGee, despite recent stretch
By Bill Chastain and Adam Berry / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- Jake McGee surrendered a two-run homer to Mark DeRosa in the sixth inning of Monday night's 8-7 loss to the Blue Jays, which added to the left-hander's recent streak of woes.
In McGee's last seven appearances, he has allowed eight runs on 12 hits, five walks and two home runs in 5 2/3 innings. In the process, his ERA has swelled to 10.64.
Such results are in vast difference to McGee's 2012 numbers, when he was overpowering while posting a 5-2 mark with a 1.95 ERA in 69 appearances.
"The biggest thing I would say is location of the pitch more than anything, without getting too specific," said Rays manager Joe Maddon, while defending the hard-throwing McGee. "The thing he did last year that was so good was that the location of his fastball was probably better per hitter than it's been this year. But believe me, look at the base hits he gave up last week in Kansas City and the one he gave up last night to [Maicer] Izturis. I would like to find out the last time DeRosa hit a home run down the right-field line.
"That's what I'm saying, your patience gets tested and all of a sudden you want to look for maybe something that's not there. I don't want to fabricate answers. I actually like the way he's throwing the ball right now. I think if he threw it in better spots in the strike zone, I think he'd a little bit more successful. Otherwise, he's had a lot of bad luck."
Maddon told reporters that he gave McGee a "big hug" on Tuesday and McGee "totally understood."
"[McGee] knows that he made good pitches," Maddon said. "He knows that he's throwing the ball well. He knew that it was kind of unfortunate and he truly needs to file [Monday night] as quickly as he can. It's not always going to be an oil painting. He's going to give up a line drive that's going to be caught one of these days and everybody's going to say what a great job he did after the game.
"This game is really unforgiving and you have to be pretty tough to play it -- especially when you play every day. These guys are tough mentally and all they need now is your support. They don't need any wishy-washy stuff coming from the manager's office."
Longoria looks to take sting out of tough loss
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays third baseman Evan Longoria said it's his job to mimic manager Joe Maddon in the clubhouse after a disappointing loss like Monday's 8-7 decision to the Blue Jays at Tropicana Field.
So it's only fitting that Longoria and Maddon used the same phrase to describe the feeling right after Tampa Bay let a 7-0 lead slip away, both saying the loss "stings a little bit." It's equally fitting that they both preached the importance of bouncing back Tuesday -- not through sweeping changes or rousing speeches, but simply by playing their game.
"It wasn't the last day of the world. It's business as usual today," Longoria said. "That was one of those games that you hope at the end of the year, you don't look back and say, 'That was the game we needed,' if we don't make the playoffs by a game or two. But again, it's a game that hopefully we can come out and put behind us tonight and find something positive to take out of it."
Added Maddon: "It stings a little bit, but it's a loss. It's a loss. You have to be able to put those losses behind you, regardless of how they occur. It just happened to be a very lopsided situation last night that turned against us. It's a loss. Move on."
The Rays have earned a reputation for having a loose clubhouse, with Maddon fostering an environment in which the players don't overly celebrate their big wins or mourn their tough losses. It's part of the reason they have also come to be known as a resilient group.
"That comes, I think, with the culture, the Rays culture that Joe and our management have created. I don't see any difference in this group," Longoria said. "It's not so much the mentality as it's been, really, the on-field play. We've been a loose group. We're having fun in here. It's just we're not getting the results on the field. There comes a point where you have to have those. It starts with tonight and it starts with going out there and putting yesterday behind us."
One thing the Rays aren't used to doing is losing leads -- especially not on the consistent basis they have this season. They've lost 12 games in which they held a lead at some point, the most in the Majors. But Maddon believes that will turn around, as well.
"It's been different. I don't know if concerning is the right word. I really believe in our guys," Maddon said. "We have a lot of really great, talented, good starting pitchers and pitchers in general. They're going through a tough stretch right now. I think it's going to come back to us."
Rays roll an unlucky seven at home
ST. PETERSBURG -- Monday night's blown seven-run lead marked the largest ever by the Rays in a loss at Tropicana Field. The previous record was six runs on April 16, 2007, against Baltimore, when they held leads of 6-0 and 7-1 before losing 9-7.
The seven-run lead was the largest surrendered in a loss overall since blowing a 10-0 lead and losing 11-10 on May 25, 2009, at Cleveland.
The seven runs also marked the largest blown lead in a loss by a Major League team this year.
The Rays have lost twice in the past week when scoring seven-plus runs, after not doing it previously in 2011 or '12. They last did it on Sept. 14, 2010, against the Yankees. They also lost 9-8 on Wednesday at Kansas City, after leading 5-0 and 6-1.
Their seven-run third inning tied the Rays' highest single-inning output since the start of 2012. It was the 42nd time in club history they had a seven-run inning, but only the fourth loss.