10/5/2013 5:44 P.M. ET
Rays' grueling road trip about to reach an end
By Bill Chastain and Adam Berry / MLB.com
BOSTON -- When the Rays board their flight to Florida on Sunday morning after Game 2 of the American League Division Series, it'll mark the end of an emotional two-week, 5,631-mile journey -- a trek so long, in fact, that it's hard for some of them to remember where it started.
The trip began late on Sept. 23, after Tampa Bay had completed a four-game sweep of Baltimore at Tropicana Field. The Rays set out for New York, where they swept the Yankees and were on the other side of Mariano Rivera's memorable final appearance. Then it was off to Toronto, where two losses led to a must-win Game 162; and Texas, for the must-win Game 163; and Cleveland, for the must-win AL Wild Card Game; and, finally, Boston, for the ALDS.
"I was thinking about that. It's almost like you forgot about the New York part of it. It's like you started in Toronto," manager Joe Maddon said. "I also believe that you get to these games and you're so 'here' that you don't necessarily worry about that. Like [in the] regular season, if it's June, [you think], 'God, we've been on the road. How long have we been on the road?'
"But it's been so much exciting energy, and this has been fun stuff, man. So I haven't worn it like I think I would have worn it a couple months ago."
Speaking of wearing it: Maddon has only had to add one shirt to the luggage he brought when the team set out on this trip. Perhaps fittingly for Maddon, it wasn't out of necessity; it was about finding a combination he liked.
"I could have gone another direction, but I wasn't satisfied with the pairings as I had them left. It was all about matchups," he said, smiling. "I'm just telling you the truth. That's exactly what happened."
Maddon proud of how Myers is handling mistake
BOSTON -- Wil Myers' botched play in the fourth inning of Game 1 on Friday was the kind of gut-wrenching incident that a lot of players might have a problem putting behind them.
But manager Joe Maddon doesn't believe Myers' missed fly ball will lead to any problems. Why? Because a smiling Maddon noted that the rookie right fielder is "oblivious" to such things.
"I visited with him last night and this morning," Maddon said. "I assured him that I threw an interception once when I was in high school. ... Well, it was more than one, but one that was critical."
Maddon feels that Myers has handled the situation "great."
"Not good," he said. "Great. He couldn't have handled it any better by his accountability postgame. I didn't hear it or see it, but I was told how accountable he was in the moment, and I think that is a true indicator of why he's going to be as good of a player as we think he is."
Myers does not feel that he'll have a problem putting Game 1 behind him.
"You know what? It's something that happens," Myers said. "It wasn't a non-hustle play, and it wasn't a mental lapse. It was one of those things where I thought [center fielder] Desmond [Jennings] was right behind me waiting to make the catch, and I didn't want to bump into him to interfere with the catch.
"Looking back on it, he wasn't even close to me. So it's one of those things that happen. It happens to everybody, but it was tough that it happened like ... it did yesterday, in a big game. It's one of those things where we have to rebound as a team and come out today."
Myers is appreciative of the treatment he received from his teammates.
"I thought it was big when I first came into the clubhouse today, and [Game 1 starter] Matt [Moore] came up to me and was like, 'Hey, man, don't worry about it. Those things happen,'" Myers said. "I felt like everybody on the team was behind me. They didn't hold it against me at all, for something like that, in that big of a situation that changed the momentum of the game that much. I thought it was big of my teammates to do that."
Myers watched the play for the first time on Saturday.
"It looked a lot different than what I thought happened," he said. "The camera view I saw there, it was following the ball all the way, so it wasn't on me or Desmond. And all of a sudden, when it came down, it just had me kind of running away from the play.
"I kind of thought I'd just backed away, but it looked like I literally just ran in away from the ball. But you know, it's one of those things that just happen, and you learn from it with the crowd as loud as it was. You just have to learn and not let it happen again."
Myers has no animosity for the Boston fans, who tauntingly chanted his name after his miscue.
"I just think they are knowledgeable fans, and they knew that what had happened was a big play," he said.
Archer learning the ropes of relief
BOSTON -- Rookie right-hander Chris Archer is spending the American League Division Series in the bullpen, and he saw action in Game 1's 12-2 loss, allowing no runs on one hit and fanning two in 1 1/3 innings.
Archer went 9-7 with a 3.22 ERA in 23 starts this season, so bullpen duty is new for him, but he's learning the ropes about what's required of a reliever. He also spent time in the bullpen for the tiebreaker against Texas and the Wild Card Game against Cleveland.
Archer noted that he's not so much picking the brains of the other relievers as he is simply watching.
"I'm just a very perceptive and observant person to begin with," Archer said. "I know everybody's routine whether you're a starter, reliever or position player. So I've just taken what I've observed over the last three months of being here from a reliever's perspective.
"And then, whenever I was in the bullpen in Texas and in Cleveland, I watched. Like I watched how [closer] Fernando [Rodney] gets ready. How [Joel] Peralta gets ready -- [Brandon] Gomes, [Alex] Torres, everybody. I watched. And Cesar Ramos has been pretty helpful as well."
Ramos has served mostly as a reliever, but he has made some starts as well.
"So he knows," Archer said. "He noticed how I warmed up yesterday and came up to me after the game and gave me a few pointers. Like what the terminology means, like, 'Hey, you have the next batter.' [But] only if the batter before him doesn't get out, that type of thing. In my mind, 'Hey, you have this batter, so bullets are ready.' And I don't actually have the next batter. It really is circumstantial. Whatever the situation dictates is when you'll go in."
When asked who rules the bullpen, he replied, "It's not like that, man."
"Everybody knows their role, and everybody is completely comfortable," he explained. "It's not like this person is lower. Everybody is communicating. There's good camaraderie down there, just like the starter and the other four starters in the dugout."
Maddon dismisses talk of Sox running up the score
BOSTON -- Although some fans may have taken issue with Jacoby Ellsbury stealing second base with the Red Sox up six runs in the eighth inning of Friday's 12-2 loss, manager Joe Maddon has "zero problem with it" and doesn't think the Red Sox were trying to run up the score.
"If they did, that was our fault. Entirely our fault. If you get embarrassed in the game, I blame it on me, us," Maddon said. "The accountability lies with the Rays, not the Red Sox doing their job. The object of the game is to score runs, and that's what they were doing."
Ellsbury singled off reliever Jamey Wright to lead off the eighth, then swiped second with Shane Victorino at the plate. Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters on Saturday that he didn't think anything of it, if only because the Rays were also trying to hold Boston's baserunners despite the lopsided score.
Maddon has made it clear that he's not always in agreement with all of baseball's unwritten rules. This time is no different.
"I have no problem with what they did at all. I've never been a proponent of that method of thinking," he said before Game 2. "I don't think we were being embarrassed. If we were being embarrassed, that would be our fault, not theirs.
"I've always felt it's the team that's getting beat up -- it's their fault. It's not the team that's trying to score. It can't be their fault. ... I really think there's a lot of archaic baseball stuff that needs to be ... not necessarily readdressed, but thought out a little bit better. People that get hung up on stuff like that, that's your hangups, not mine."
• Maddon admitted that "normally" he would have started the left-handed-hitting Matt Joyce at designated hitter against Red Sox right-hander John Lackey, but he went with the right-handed-hitting Delmon Young, for a few reasons.
First, Lackey has been somewhat of a reverse-splits righty this year, meaning that right-handed hitters have been better against him (.258/.297/.463) than lefties (.238/.285/.374). Second, Young has had some "really good at-bats against some tough right-handers," including Cleveland's Danny Salazar in the Wild Card Game.
On top of all that, Maddon said, "Delmon's really demonstrated the ability to come through in key moments at the end of the season. I believe in that, too, beyond numbers.
"Right now I think Delmon is playing at a different level when it comes to a mental at-bat, quite frankly."
• Friday's game drew a 15.5 local rating in Tampa, the highest rating for any Major League game in the market since Game 3 of the 2011 ALDS, against Texas. Near the end of the game, 34 percent of TVs on in Tampa were tuned into Boston's 12-2 victory.
• The Rays allowed 12 runs on Friday without giving up a home run, only the eighth time in postseason history a team has scored that many runs without a homer. It hadn't happened since Game 6 of the 2001 World Series, when the D-backs beat the Yankees, 15-2.
• Ben Zobrist entered Saturday with a nine-game postseason hitting streak, tied with B.J. Upton for the longest such streak in Rays history.