5/12/2014 8:07 P.M. ET
Maddon points to quality at-bats to explain game pace
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- Entering Monday night's contest against the Mariners, the Rays were averaging 3 hours, 17 minutes and 45 seconds per nine-inning game. That ranked longer than any other team in baseball. The Dodgers were second at 3 hours, 10 minutes and 45 seconds.
"At least we're leading in something right now," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I think part of that is the number of pitches we do see. You have to consider from the offensive perspective also. I don't know if we lead the league in potential challenges, play on the field, I don't know how that plays out.
"We have a couple of pitchers who probably can be a little more time efficient between pitches. But overall, I'm a little surprised that that's true, quite frankly. The only thing I think that validates [the Rays leading the league in longest games], looking at the numbers is we do see a lot of pitches on a nightly basis as an offense. We've worked good at-bats the whole season."
Sunday's Rays-Indians game at Tropicana Field lasted 3 hours, 48 minutes, giving the team its 13th consecutive game longer than three hours. Their last 12 games have averaged 3 hours, 44 minutes (including one extra-inning game).
Rays catcher Jose Molina, who has seen a lot having first played in the Major Leagues in 1999, said the only thing he's noticed is "guys not throwing strikes."
"Pitchers not throwing strikes or hitters having good at-bats and fouling off good pitches," Molina said. "And that takes you to a long inning, and a lot of changes of pitchers."
Molina did note one possible offshoot of longer games.
"What probably it does, the infielders and outfielders, instead of being on their toes, now they're getting back on their heels," Molina said. "Because they don't see any movement.
"When the pitcher throws strikes and you get quick outs, the infielders keep moving. Getting behind in the count is when you can't do anything about it with the infielders and they get on their heels sometimes from being on their heels, the ball goes through."
When asked if he had any solutions, Molina offered: "No, it's just the game and that's the way it is."
Ex-Rays closer Rodney anxious to face former club
SEATTLE -- Fernando Rodney doesn't especially like the cooler temperatures in Seattle, the city he refers to as the "Penguin City," but after spending the 2012 and 2013 seasons with the Rays, he does like his new residence and new team, the Mariners.
When asked whether he looked forward to pitching against the Rays during this week's three-game series, he smiled: "Si."
During his conversation with reporters on Monday, he allowed that he had wanted to return to the Rays.
"I think they are going to sign me back," Rodney said. "They say I look for too much money, that's what they say. I don't know how to control that."
Rodney said the Rays never made him an offer, though he did receive two-year offers from the Mets, Orioles and Indians, and a one-year offer from the Yankees. He signed a two-year deal with the Mariners for $14 million.
"If I get $14 or $15 [million for two years], I stay," said Rodney, who entered Monday night's action with 11 saves.
Rays manager Joe Maddon made it clear he has nothing to do with the money being paid to players, so he wasn't involved in the Rodney decision.
"All I can say is this: I loved having him here," Maddon said. "Fernando was a big part of what we did the last couple of years. I love his personality. I consider him a really good friend. ... This guy here, when he was a Ray, I loved when he was here. He was a good teammate and he was really well liked in the clubhouse."
The Rays ended up with Grant Balfour as their closer, signing the right-hander to a two-year, $12-million deal.
"We feel fortunate that we did end up with Grant, because that wasn't going to happen either," Maddon said. "Again, the mechanics of how that all played out was kind of freaky."
Now that he's pitching for the Mariners, Rodney was asked if he still shoots the arrow into the sky after the games, to which he answered: "Yes, very far."
Price 'excited' to pitch at Safeco for first time
SEATTLE -- David Price has pitched in the Major Leagues since the end of the 2008 season, yet he will be making his first start at Safeco Field on Tuesday night when the Rays face the Mariners.
"This is the first time I'll get to throw here, so it's exciting," Price said. "I guess every time we've been here, I've thrown a bullpen, so I like the bullpen mound. I've been on the game mound a couple of times, after we've won a game. You just get out there and turn around and see what it looks like. And it looks cool. So I'm excited."
Price did note that never having pitched in Seattle is beyond coincidence and just plain weird.
"It is weird," Price said. "We've come out here and played a lot of four-game sets, so I think that makes it a little more unique that I haven't had a chance to throw out here. But I'll enjoy it."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.