4/29/2014 1:37 A.M. ET
Offensive consistency lacking in first 26 games
By Tony Meale / Special to MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Twenty-six games into the season, the Rays are four games under .500. Joe Maddon is not worried, and he's not making excuses -- even with starting pitchers Matt Moore, Alex Cobb and Jeremy Hellickson all on the disabled list.
"The injuries, that happens," Maddon said. "That's something that we anticipate is going to happen, and we expect to be able to play through those bad moments. We expect to have the depth to cover that. I'm not even considering that as part of our record right now. I'm not worried about that."
Still, Maddon feels his squad has endured some non-injury misfortune.
"We've hit the ball extremely well this month, and our numbers don't reflect that," he said. "We've had great at-bats, we've seen a lot of pitches, we've accepted our walks -- offensively, these guys have done a tremendous job."
And yet, Tampa Bay ranks 10th in the American League in runs scored.
"We've had some really good nights," Maddon said, "but on a consistency level, it's been a little bit un-fortuitous, which I want to believe will come back to us. As long as we keep the same approach, that's going to come back to us."
Defensively, the Rays rank third in the AL in errors -- even with Sunday's miserable four-error performance.
"Outside of yesterday, we've been doing some great work on defense," Maddon said.
As for the patchwork rotation, well, it's keeping the Rays above water.
"Cesar [Ramos has] had two good starts in a row, [Erik] Bedard's still seeking his first really good one, but I think it's in there, and David [Price] and [Chris Archer] have been really, really good," Maddon said. "I'm a big believer in you have to win the battle of inches, and sometimes the inches work against you -- and they'll continue to work against you if you give up or you say, 'Woe is me,' or all that stuff. But if you just say, 'We need to keep working at this, we need to keep believing in what we do,' then the pendulum comes back to your side. And that's what I see that's going to happen here. I'm very confident."
Maddon not rushing DeJesus back into outfield
CHICAGO -- David DeJesus, who continues to rehab a shoulder that he tweaked while diving for a ball against the Yankees earlier this month, was again the designated hitter against the White Sox on Monday.
DeJesus batted seventh, while Matt Joyce hit third and played left field in the club's 7-3 loss.
"There's been no rush on it for me because I think Matty's done a great job out there, and that was part of the gig in the beginning," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "When you have this revolving door with the DH, then you can do these different kind of creative things on defense. That's what I reminded David about. I said, 'Listen, this is part of why we set this thing up the way we did. If you need more time, let's take more time.'"
DeJesus, who hasn't played left field since April 22, threw Sunday and continues to improve. The shoulder certainly hasn't bothered him in the batter's box. In his past seven games, he's hit .389 (7-for-18) with one home run, six RBIs and four runs scored.
Joyce, meanwhile, leads the Rays with a .333 average and .447 on-base percentage. He set a franchise record with five walks in Friday's 9-6 loss to the White Sox. On Monday, Joyce made a spectacular diving catch, which ended in a double play.
"There's no rush," Maddon said. "I want [DeJesus] to get well and not push it or rush it and worry about it -- because it's not necessary."
Maddon left to ponder unpredictable weather
CHICAGO -- It was supposed to pour all day in Chicago on Monday. Well, actually it was supposed to pour all night. Or it was supposed to pour two hours after the first pitch.
Yes, for Joe Maddon, Chicago weather is officially a mystery.
"I've been looking at it all day," the Rays manager said. "There was a 70 percenter all day and then a 100 percenter starting at 7 o'clock and now all of a sudden it's a 20 percenter. I guess we're in the Midwest. Things change rather quickly. Hopefully we get the game in."
Jake Odorizzi took the hill as scheduled for the Rays, who were hoping to salvage a four-game split with the White Sox, but left the Windy City with three losses after a 7-3 defeat. Odorizzi is 1-3 with a 6.85 ERA and has struggled since tossing six shutout innings against the Rangers on April 4. He has allowed 18 earned runs on 28 hits in his last 17 2/3 innings.
Maddon feels Odorizzi, 24, is relying too heavily on the offpeed pitch he added to his repertoire during the offseason.
"Sometimes you get a new tool in the toolbox or a new toy in toy box and you want to utilize it too often," Maddon said before Odorizzi allowed four runs over 4 1/3 innings. "I like his fastball. I want him to throw his fastball. I like his curveball. I like the idea of maybe overusing [the offspeed stuff] in Spring Training just to get used to that pitch and understand that pitch, but in season, in progress, go out there and pitch. Utilize all your stuff. Fastball still is the best pitch. I like fastball, I like changeup, I like curveball. Those are three best pitches, I think."
Tony Meale is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.