4/25/2014 8:08 P.M. ET
Rays not in running for stolen base lead
By Tony Meale / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- If you haven't seen the Rays steal many bases this year, that's because they haven't attempted many. In fact, they've attempted just 10 entering Friday's series opener against the White Sox, which is tied with Toronto for fewest in the majors.
"It's the evolution of the Rays," manager Joe Maddon said. "It's just a different team. I mean, you have one legitimate base-stealing threat on the team, where in the past we might have had four or five. You don't try to put the square peg in the round hole. You don't want to run yourself into outs just because you want to steal more bases."
Desmond Jennings leads Tampa Bay with three steals, while Ben Zobrist has two. As a team, the Rays have just eight steals -- the second-fewest in the majors.
Maddon doesn't mind.
"If we're in the top five as a base-running team, I'll take that over the fact that I don't care where we are regarding stolen bases," he said. "But if our decision-making -- taking the extra base, going first to third -- if those things are in order and we're not making stupid outs on the bases, then that's a positive.
"I'm all about [steals]," Maddon continued. "I love them. But if you don't have it, don't try it -- because you're just going to be giving up outs."
Rays need replacement starters to pitch in
CHICAGO -- Odds are there's not a team in the Majors that would trade injury woes with Tampa Bay. With injuries to Matt Moore, Alex Cobb and Jeremy Hellickson, the Rays have fielded a patchwork rotation seemingly all season.
Joe Maddon, however, refuses to use that as an excuse for his team's 10-12 start.
"You plan for these different things, and you know it's going to happen," Maddon said. "You don't like when it happens all at one time, but everybody [goes through this]. [The White Sox are] missing [Chris] Sale right now. I mean, there's a lot of teams that are missing some players."
Tampa Bay has dropped three of four entering Friday's series opener against the White Sox, as fill-in starters Cesar Ramos, Jake Odorizzi and Erik Bedard have all been unable to last more than five innings.
"i think it's my Minor League background; I think it's how I grew up," Maddon said. "But when you work in the Minor Leagues, you may not have the best team out there on a nightly basis, but you still believe you're going to win. You got to figure out how to win somehow on that night, whether it's lineup composition, making sure you use your bullpen properly, maybe just inspiring your players and talking to them in a way that gets them ready. There's a whole bunch of different ways to win on a nightly bases. So for me, I don't want us utilizing any excuses.
"The only thing that I would concede is that I've often said this game could have been called pitching as opposed to baseball -- and right now we're not getting the pitching that we normally get."
Maddon hoped that changeed with Chris Archer's start against the White Sox on Friday. Archer (2-1, 3.65 ERA) has thrown at least six innings in three of his first four starts this season and allowed just one run in a 16-1 win over the Yankees last Saturday.
"He very much so has the capability of pitching deep into this game," Maddon said. "I'll probably give him a little bit more latitude pitch-wise because he's been at 90-95 almost every start out. He's in pretty good shape when it comes to that."
Tony Meale is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.