At the 40 Game Mark
There are those who believe that the 40-game mark is a good litmus test for judging what kind of team you have and what areas need shoring up for the remainder of the season. Maddon was asked today about how he felt about the Rays at the 40-game mark and if he saw anything glaring areas that need to be shored up for the final 122 games.
The Rays manager said they need to get Pat Burrell healthy and back in the lineup.
“I think you’re going to begin to see the starting pitching pick it up a little more,” Maddon said. “I think you’re starting to see the bullpen get things in order. Defensively we’ve been playing a better game. I would say more than anything I would just like to see — if there’s any component of our team I’d like to see us get better at — I would like to see us pitch to our level and play level to our level or higher. Especially defensively. We have another level of defense in us I think.”
Tonight’s game should be of interest since the Rays reached .500 last night. Will they now look at the even mark in their rearview mirror or will they continue to hover at that level? Also, following blowout wins this season the Rays have not been able to get much going the next night. They have James Shields, the team’s No. 1 starter on the hill against the A’s, a team with far less talent than the Rays. That trend should end tonight, but will it? Does the offense have any runs leftover for Shields? Should be interesting.