10/6/2013 6:12 P.M. ET
Rays hoping to draw on walk-off magic at Trop
By Bill Chastain and Adam Berry / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- Playing at Tropicana Field this year, the Rays had a true home-field advantage. A part of that could be seen in the team's ability to produce walk-off wins.
"It's not a thing you can rub on you," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It's something that you can feel. Somethings that can be contagious. Once one guy feels it, it catches one and you believe good things will happen for the team."
Of the Rays' 51 victories at home, 13 came via walk-off wins, which tied their club record set in 2011.
"There's really just a never-say-die attitude," said Chris Archer when asked about the Rays' ability to come through in the clutch. "It stems from the coaching staff and just trickles its way down."
The Rays' first walk-off win came April 3 via a Matt Joyce home run, and the last one came Sept. 23 when the Rays beat the Orioles, 5-4, on a James Loney homer.
"Walk-off wins are great," Sam Fuld said. "I think it's a result of resilience."
Fuld pointed out that a team has to put itself in a position to win by a walk-off.
"No matter how long the game is, it's usually the result of good pitching," Fuld said. "The bullpen shutting the other team down. And whether you win in 18 innings, like we did earlier, or just a regular nine-inning walk-off. It's usually a result of just really good pitching and good defense. So it's no surprise that we tend to walk off quite a bit."
Fuld sounded surprised when told that the Rays had 13 walk-off wins in 2013.
"That seems like a lot," Fuld said. "But I remember two years ago, my first year here, I remember thinking, 'Man, this team walks off a lot.' And then I kind of realized it's probably a result of staying loose in high-pressure situations.
"[Former Rays outfielder] Johnny Damon was a classic example. He went up there with the game on the line and was as happy go lucky going up to the plate as he was in a Spring Training game. That's our nature in our clubhouse. Every one of us."
Price issues apology for Twitter comments
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays left-hander David Price issued an apology via his @DAVIDprice14 Twitter account Sunday afternoon for several comments he posted late Saturday night, including one critical remark about two analysts on the TBS postgame show.
Price tweeted at 2:40 p.m. ET on Sunday that "Last night got out of hand and I apologize for the things that I said on here...if I offended you I am very sorry for doing so...#thatsnotme."
Price, who gave up seven runs against the Red Sox and lost Game 2 of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park on Saturday, was not available to speak to the media at Tampa Bay's optional workout at Tropicana Field on Sunday.
Last night got out of hand and I apologize for the things that I said on here...if I offended you I am very sorry for doing so...#thatsnotme- David Price (@DAVIDprice14) October 6, 2013
"I don't want to take one isolated incident and try to make more out of it than it actually is. I have a lot of faith in David," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I think David did the right thing after he had done the wrong thing. And I believe in the future, you're going to see better judgment."
A few hours after Game 2 ended, Price responded to a few fans' tweets about his performance, his career, fellow Vanderbilt alum Sonny Gray's outing for the A's and, eventually, his faith that the Rays will bounce back from two ugly losses in Boston. Shortly afterward, Price sent a tweet that was critical of TBS analysts Dirk Hayhurst, a former Rays pitcher, and Tom Verducci, a well-regarded national baseball writer.
Hayhurst jokingly referenced the comment on his own Twitter account, @TheGarfoose, while most of the TBS crew downplayed the situation and reacted with humor on Sunday's pregame show. Maddon said he had only seen one of Price's Twitter posts before hearing that Price had apologized.
"Dangerous world we live in D -- the ability to put out information so quickly, you really need to process it before you hit the send button. We all do. I haven't seen the apology, but through that, [he] probably has reconsidered what he had written and, obviously, felt as though what he had written was incorrect," Maddon said. "I appreciate the accountability. I really don't like to censor our guys. Where we live in this country, obviously, freedom of speech is everybody's prerogative.
"Sometimes, when we have that freedom, we choose to make bad decisions with it. However, we still have that freedom. Hopefully, in a moment like this, he's going to learn from that and you're not going to see it again."
Maddon has always encouraged his players to speak freely, and said he didn't have any interest in a social-media policy like many college athletic programs employ.
"We have media training from Spring Training, where we try to cover all of these items. Again, I really hate to try to legislate behavior when it comes to those kind of moments," Maddon said. "Just like your kids, you try to give them the right thoughts or right ideas, the correct word is warn them in advance of the potential consequences. But sometimes you've got to make a mistake in order to come out on the other side and be better for what you do.
"I don't like legislating anything, actually, when it comes to personal behavior. I do like trying to set a good example or trying to conversationally. If you ask me, I'm going to tell you what I think. I don't necessarily try to impose my morals on you, even as a manager. I think philosophically with us, I've talked about it a lot, one of our strengths is that we do permit a lot of freedom. When you permit a lot of freedom, you normally get a lot of respect in return from accountable people. And I think that's what you normally get here."
Maddon: Rays were 'out Fenway-ed' in Boston
ST. PETERSBURG -- Manager Joe Maddon introduced a new term Saturday night for what happened to the Rays over two uncharacteristically sloppy losses to the Red Sox in Boston.
"I think we got out Fenway-ed," Maddon said after a 7-4 loss in Game 2. "The ballpark itself, the quirks that they're used to, we were not used to enough to play them properly. I'm not complaining. I'm just saying that's what happened."
Indeed, Tampa Bay's left fielders struggled to handle Boston's line drives and high fly balls off the Green Monster in Games 1 and 2 of the American League Division Series, with those miscues contributing to some of the Red Sox's 19 runs over the weekend.
"I don't want to take anything away from what Boston did these last two games. They're a very aggressive offense. They played to their advantages of their home ballpark," said right-hander Alex Cobb, who will start Monday's do-or-die Game 3 at Tropicana Field (Monday, 6 p.m. ET on TBS). "There's a lot of balls hit off that wall that were typical outs here, a lot of balls finding holes for them, a couple of 90-feet doubles they hit.
"I felt we pitched a lot better than what the box score looked like. I'm not taking away those 19 runs that they got, but there's definitely a different game to be played outside of Fenway Park. ... The game is played differently in Tropicana than Fenway Park."
Third baseman Evan Longoria pointed out the obvious -- that Tampa Bay will have an advantage playing at home -- but he didn't seem surprised that Boston played so well at Fenway. Longoria said he always expects the home team to win each game, so he likes the Rays' chances Monday and in a potential Game 4 on Tuesday.
Red Sox manager John Farrell wasn't quite buying into that idea, as Boston has plenty of experience at the Trop, but he did admit that the Rays might have indeed been "out Fenway-ed" in the first two games.
"I think we've all seen that Fenway can create some interesting moments. Our left-handers have the ability to go the other way quite frequently. And they can take advantage of that wall, which I think played out in the first two games," Farrell said. "But regardless of where balls landed, it comes back to ... the baserunning side of it. Our guys get a good read on it, because of the familiarity and number of games played in there, and we can be that much more aggressive running the bases after a ball caroms off the wall. And I think we were able to tack on a run or two over the first two games."
• The Rays announced that Monday's Game 3 at Tropicana Field sold out on Friday, with the exception of a few scattered single seats. Tickets for Game 4 are still available at raysbaseball.com.
• Julianna Zobrist, wife of Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist and a Christian alternative recording artist, will perform the national anthem before Game 3.
• Six players on the Rays' active roster were seen at Sunday's optional workout at Tropicana Field: Longoria, Kelly Johnson, Desmond Jennings, Chris Archer, Jeremy Hellickson and Cobb. Longoria fielded a few ground balls at third base, while Johnson worked out in left field in case he's called upon to play there Monday.
• A few players who ended the season on the Rays' active September roster also showed up at the Trop on Sunday afternoon. Right-hander Jake Odorizzi threw a simulated game to infielder Tim Beckham and outfielders Kevin Kiermaier and Freddy Guzman.
Odorizzi said he was just trying to stay ready in case there's an injury or an open roster spot, should the Rays advance to the AL Championship Series, and it felt good to shake off the rust Sunday.