6/21/2014 4:17 P.M. ET
Maddon: Steal comes at right place, wrong time
By David Adler / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- In the bottom of the eighth inning of Friday night's game, pinch-runner Sean Rodriguez was thrown out trying to advance to second on a pitch in the dirt. Astros catcher Jason Castro blocked the ball and kept it in front of him, which allowed him to throw out Rodriguez fairly easily.
Rodriguez had just entered the game, which the Rays were trailing, 2-0, as a pinch-runner for Jose Molina, who had led off the inning with a single.
Tampa Bay went on to lose, 3-1, and manager Joe Maddon said after the game that he was not happy with the baserunning play. In that situation, he said, if a runner decides to go, he simply has to be safe.
On Saturday afternoon, Maddon said he had discussed the mistake with Rodriguez.
"He knew he messed up," Maddon said. "Hopefully, he's not gonna do it again."
Maddon reiterated what he had said Friday -- that the play was too big of a risk to take late in a close game.
"Again, it comes down to the point that you can't make that mistake then -- because at other points in the game, I want them to be aggressive," Maddon said. "You know what, under normal circumstances I am not upset with that at all, but at that part of the game, under those circumstances, it becomes a different question."
Price's 1,000th K catches Molina by surprise
ST. PETERSBURG -- At first, Rays catcher Jose Molina did not know why home-plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth was asking him to take the baseball out of the game.
It wasn't until the Tropicana Field video board flashed the announcement in the second inning Friday night -- displaying that David Price had just notched his 1,000th career strikeout -- that Molina realized what Culbreth was talking about.
"I really didn't even know it," Molina said. "The umpire was telling me, 'Hey, throw the ball away,' and I told him, 'Why?' And then I looked at the board, and it was there."
Molina, who has caught all 16 of Price's starts this year, said on Saturday that he did not keep track of statistics during games so he wasn't thinking about the batters Price was striking out (12 of them Friday), just about where to call for the next pitch.
"Really, I wasn't paying attention to that ... but it's awesome," Molina said. "It's awesome just for him, personal goals, that's amazing."
Rays not altering plan vs. first-time pitcher
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays were tasked with facing an unfamiliar starting pitcher Saturday in Jake Buchanan, who was promoted from Triple-A to make his Major League debut. Buchanan was a late replacement for Brad Peacock, who was scratched from the start Friday night.
"We have some stuff -- the velocity, break on the breaking ball, that kind of thing," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said of the rookie right-hander. "But of course, you've got to go out there and see him for the first time. I just saw our workup on him before I walked downstairs. We'll see how we play.
"When we meet these guys for the first time, I oftentimes believe the pitcher, if he can go out there with composure and command, may have a little bit of an advantage the first time through the batting order. Then we'll see what happens after that."
Maddon also said the Rays did not have to make any last-minute changes in their gameplan to adjust for the new pitcher.
The Rays have struggled against starters making their debut -- they have lost eight of their past 10 games against first-time pitchers. Six of those pitchers have allowed one earned run or fewer, including Houston's Jarred Cosart, who beat the Rays both on Friday and in his Major League debut last season.
David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.