By Matt Snyder
After dropping their sixth game in as many tries in the young 2011 season, the Rays players had a brief meeting amongst themselves. It was led by veteran outfielder Johnny Damon, though he wasn't the only player to speak. Reportedly, the main message was to remain positive.
"It's real miserable because we feel like our pitchers have been doing a good-enough job to get victories,'' Damon said. "We did have a little talk after, the players, and commended the pitchers for doing this. I've never seen six guys as cold as we've been doing (not counting Sam Fuld, B.J. Upton and Ben Zobrist). ... You just never see that. I don't think we've got a bloop hit or a broken bat hit. There's been nothing like that.'' (TampaBay.com )
The Rays are missing star third baseman Evan Longoria, who is out with an oblique injury.
The offense has been anemic for Tampa, as it has now scored just eight runs in six games. The rate stats are downright embarrassing, as the Rays are collectively hitting .145 with a .217 on-base percentage and .253 slugging percentage. Thursday they only managed four hits in eight innings off White Sox starter Edwin Jackson, who had a whopping 13 strikeouts.
Though it's only his first season with the Rays, Damon is a very respected veteran among his peers and has been to the playoffs seven times. With Carl Crawford gone and Evan Longoria down injured, he's the best fit as a leader among the position players.
The Rays will have another shot at that first win of the 2011 season Friday night in Chicago. James Shields gets the ball for the Rays, and he looked solid last time out. The thus-far inept offense will have John Danks to deal with.
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