PHILADELPHIA -- Entering Sunday afternoon's day-night doubleheader, the Rays had 61 errors -- second most in the Major Leagues and only 12 fewer than they made all of last year.
A year ago at this time, the Rays had 32 errors and did not commit their 61st error until Sept. 2 (137th game). Currently, they are on pace for a club-record 141 errors.
"[The defense has] been unsettled, there's no question," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We're trying to balance it out based on the other team's pitchers, based on our pitchers defensively, where the ground balls may go. Based on our pitcher, the kind of hitters they have, you try to put your strongest guy there defensively.
"... For the most part, our record is still pretty good, in spite of all of our defensive mistakes -- which we're not used to. ... If there's one component of the game I think would maintain, in spite of whatever, we have good athletes out there who would normally play good defense. But we haven't."
Maddon has constantly noted that the way this year's Rays have fielded is not in their "DNA," and that he keeps looking for the trend to turn around. When asked if he was concerned that his team was indeed "that team" that makes costly errors, the Rays' manager could not deny how his team has played.
"We have been that team," Maddon said. "We have been that team, and we have to shake it. A whole lot of it is the residue of a lot of different people in spots that weren't necessarily going to be there as often as they are, as per Spring Training."
An old baseball saying points out that defense does not go into slumps. The Rays seem set on disproving that notion.
"Andrew [Friedman, Rays executive vice president of baseball operations] and I were just talking about that," Maddon said. "You always would think that, but our defense definitely has slumped this year."