9/2/2013 9:17 P.M. ET
Rays struggling out west
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Entering Monday night's series opener against the Angels, the Rays were 0-8 in games played in California and Arizona this season.
The Rays lost both games of a two-game series against the D-backs in Phoenix and were swept in a three-game series against the Dodgers in Los Angeles in early August before dropping three straight over the weekend in Oakland.
"We've been playing better on the West Coast the past couple of seasons," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Primarily I've got to attribute it to the really good pitching we've seen. The D-backs pitched well against us, the Dodgers did and now Oakland did. We haven't been very offensive on the West Coast."
Maddon noted that the Rays need to start hitting "like we can" if they want to turn around their fortunes.
"We have to just start playing a more consistent offense game because we've been pitching well, we've been playing great defense, everything is good, we're just having a hard time at the plate," Maddon said. "But it can be a cyclical kind of thing. We just have to get our vibe back on the offensive side of the ball."
Since July 31, the Rays are 11-17, have averaged 3.21 runs per game (28th in the Major Leagues) and hit 21 home runs (25th in the Majors). Prior to that date, the Rays were 64-43 and were ranked sixth in the American League in runs scored (4.65) and eighth in home runs (119).
Hellickson rejoins Rays after regrouping in Minors
ANAHEIM -- Jeremy Hellickson, who was optioned to Class A Charlotte on Aug. 27, was added to the Rays' taxi squad on Monday and will be activated Tuesday.
Hellickson, who could slide back into the rotation as early as Wednesday, was in the Rays' clubhouse on Monday and spoke about his last week.
"It wasn't very much fun, to say the least," Hellickson said.
Hellickson allowed that he had been struggling when the move was made.
"I wanted to keep going out there, try and give us a chance to win," Hellickson said. "I just wasn't doing my job. I don't think it was a bad idea to do this. As much as I want to be out there to help this team win, it's good to take a few days off to clear my mind. It might be a good thing."
Hellickson perpetuated a disturbing trend on Aug. 26 against the Royals when he failed to complete five innings for the fifth time in his last six starts. The right-hander was gone after just 2 2/3 innings and the Royals were already up, 5-0, en route to an 11-1 win.
"After the game I told [Rays manager Joe Maddon] that was the best I've felt command wise," Hellickson said. "A lot of my changeups were down in good spots where I wanted them. I threw three or four good ones in a row and they fouled them off and then I'd make a mistake pitch. That's kind of how the day went. You know, everything just wasn't as crisp and sharp as it needed to be. Hopefully the time off will help."
He is 10-8 on the season with a 5.21 ERA after getting off to a 10-4 start, which was fueled largely by his work from June 2 to July 26, when he went 8-1 with a 3.17 ERA.
When asked if the time away from the team allowed him to clear his mind, Hellickson noted that he "wasn't really stressing about anything."
"I kept telling you guys I was confident about everything and I was," Hellickson said. "Things just weren't going my way. Hopefully this was for the better, but I missed being here."
Hellickson rested for a day during his time away from the team then went to Tropicana Field every day to work out with Jake Odorizzi leading up to a bullpen on Saturday and he played catch on Sunday.
"We were there in the dark and I think it was 100 degrees inside of there, too," Hellickson said. "Like I said, it wasn't a lot of fun, but I did get to see Jake for a little bit."
Hellickson did not like being sent down to the Minor Leagues because he wanted to make the start Saturday in Oakland, but he added: "At the same time I understood what was going on. I wasn't pitching well at all. They wanted somebody up for the bullpen that day. I wasn't too happy. It wasn't something I wanted to do, but at the same time I understood."
If Hellickson is named Wednesday night's starter over Roberto Hernandez, he said he will be ready to go.
Loney getting in a groove
ANAHEIM -- James Loney hit a home run Sunday at Oakland and is 8-for-24 in his last six games.
Rays manager Joe Maddon has noticed a difference in the Rays first baseman.
"Ball hotter off the bat," Maddon said. "I think he's made a nice adjustment in the batter's box. He looks like he had earlier when we went into Baltimore and he made a little adjustment with his legs. And I think I'm seeing more of that right now. A better bottom half. I thought he's looked good the last couple of days."
Loney is batting a Major League-high .364 on the road. The last American League player to finish a season with a road average that high was Robinson Cano of the Yankees in 2006 (.364).
The Rays' club record for one season is held by Carl Crawford (.342 in 2007). Loney started 1-for-13 on the road, but has batted .383 (77-for-201) since.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.