The 40 errors ranks as the third most in franchise history (43 in 2001 and 41 in '07) through 44 games. The Rays had 17 errors in their last 11 games entering Wednesday, when they added another fielding miscue to their tally in a 5-4 win in 11 innings over the Blue Jays.
"Of course we've been making too many errors and defensive mistakes, agreed," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "But sometimes the error component is a little bit overblown, because we're still covering a lot of ground. We're making a lot of wonderful plays. We're still doing a lot of great things on defense. We're just making the common mistake a little bit too often, and that's a thing we normally don't do."
The errors are uncharacteristic for the team that led the Major Leagues with the fewest errors in 2011, with a club-record-low 73.
"These are plays we normally do make, I agree, and I firmly believe that we're going to start making those plays," Maddon said. "I don't think we have necessarily gone backward on defense. I think, like you're saying, guys moving around a little bit may have something to do with it. Honestly, I'm not concerned right now.
"Everybody's going to make mistakes. We've made more than we're accustomed to. We've got to stop that. But overall, I can't say that our defense has been bad. We've just made a couple more errors than normal."
Carlos Pena, who won a Gold Glove Award while playing first base for the Rays in 2008, said that while the errors are uncharacteristic for the team, they are a part of baseball.
"We can call it, 'We're in a funk,'" Pena said. "[With] hitting or defensively, things just seem to happen one after the other, and then you call that a hitting slump or a fielding slump. But if you just isolate those incidents, they're just mistakes, and that's the end of it.
"But we are who we are, regardless of what happened yesterday. Or whatever has happened the past few weeks. We are who we are today. And what we're trying to make sure of is that we are true to ourselves today. And we bring our true selves to the game today instead of carrying all that baggage into the game. We want to make sure we're clear and not carrying unnecessary weight on our backs."