Notes: Rays becoming road warriors

Notes: Rays becoming road warriors

PHOENIX -- Entering Wednesday afternoon's contest against the Diamondbacks, the Devil Rays had won eight of their last 14 road games.

To keep these totals in proper perspective, the Rays won a total of three road games in the second half of the 2006 season.

"I don't have an answer for you," said Ty Wigginton, when asked why the team has turned things around on the road this season. "I have no ideas."

Scott Kazmir said the Rays have "a whole different team."

"It's a whole different ballgame," Kazmir said. "When you've got guys who are as hungry as we are to go out there and just attack a pitcher like we do, we get pretty comfortable out there. Seems like the harder the pitcher we're facing [is], the more amped up, the more ready our guys get. It's special to see our guys come out here, especially on the road, and get it done like we have. We had a tough first game [on the just-completed road trip] and it could have easily slid into a really bad road trip. But we bounced back the next day and just got right back on track. [It] seems like nothing bothers us."

Carl Crawford goes along with Kazmir's thinking about the Rays having a different team.

"We've got different players," Crawford said. "We don't even remember what happened last year. We're just trying to go out and get wins right now. Mostly it's a matter of us being different and wanting to win and trying not to lose all those games we lost last year."

Crawford smiled when asked how last year's club might have responded to the June 5 loss in Toronto, when the Rays blew an 11-6 lead in the ninth in the first game of the road trip.

"Probably would have been kind of ugly," Crawford said. "Because usually that first game kind of sets the tone for the whole road trip, and we probably would have folded and lost. But this is a different ballclub. We're definitely able to forget."

Rays manager Joe Maddon sees a difference as well, which is why he wasn't concerned about how his team would play following Tuesday night's loss after the Rays led 8-2.

"Last year we'd have a tough loss and it would normally turn into two or three before we could right ourselves," Maddon said. "We have a bad game now and our guys come out and act like it never happened."

On Navvy: Dioner Navarro has been with the Rays since the middle of last summer when they acquired the young catcher along with right-hander Jae Seo in a trade with the Dodgers for left-hander Mark Hendrickson and catcher Toby Hall. Maddon was asked to assess what he has seen from Navarro after watching him play for approximately a year.

"Offensively, he's probably not where he wants to be," Maddon said.

Navarro entered Wednesday afternoon's game hitting .170 with no home runs and 10 RBIs.

"I think he's getting back to where he's throwing well and his game calling is better," Maddon said. "... The hitting has not been where we thought he should be at at this point."

Maddon does not believe Navarro has been as patient as he needs to be at the plate.

Dodgers on the horizon: Having grown up professionally in the Angels' organization, Maddon said he always had a healthy dislike for the Angels' crosstown rivals, the Dodgers.

"I used to really not like the Dodgers," Maddon said. "Part of it was because I wanted [the Angels] to be like them. They always had the whitest uniforms. They had the tradition. And [I liked] the way they conducted themselves. Whenever I saw a Dodgers uniform, I would amp up."

For whatever reason, Maddon no longer harbors such intense feelings.

"I don't hold the same sort of malice toward them I once did," said Maddon, noting his feelings probably changed a lot because he's now on the East Coast.

This and that: Ty Wigginton pushed his hitting streak to 13 with a two-run homer in the fourth inning of Tuesday night's 10-8 loss to the Diamondbacks. The hitting streak marks the longest by a Rays hitter since Carl Crawford's 13-game streak from July 7-22, 2004. ... B.J. Upton (left quadriceps strain) could play in some Florida State League games next week for Vero Beach when they play against the Tampa Yankees. ... Rocco Baldelli (strained left hamstring) will now be examined by team doctors Thursday rather than Wednesday as originally planned. ... Crawford did not start Wednesday as Maddon likes to rest his left fielder on days prior to an off-day to give him an extra boost.

Up next: The Rays return to Tropicana Field on Friday night to begin a three-game series against the Dodgers in a 7:10 p.m. ET contest. Right-hander Andy Sonnanstine will start for the Rays and will be opposed by right-hander Derek Lowe.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.