Rays seeing improvement on defensive side

Rays seeing improvement on defensive side

Rays seeing improvement on defensive side
ANAHEIM -- Fielding has been a problem for the Rays this season, which has prompted a lot of people to scratch their heads because the Rays are a team built for pitching and defense.

But just lately, things seem to be turning around defensively for the team.

After making 71 errors in 86 games before the All-Star break (second most in the Major Leagues), the Rays have made only five in the first 14 games since the break (tied with four other teams for the fewest in the Major Leagues).

Entering Saturday night's contest against the Angels, the Rays had gone six consecutive games without an error, their longest streak of the season. In addition, they are errorless in nine of their last 10 games, but the one game they weren't perfect -- July 20 vs. Seattle -- they made three errors, giving them 76 on the season, three more than they made all of last season.

The Rays have allowed just three unearned runs in the last 30 games after allowing a Major League high of 40 in their first 76 games.

Rays first baseman Carlos Pena, a Gold Glove recipient in 2008, said he had no explanation for the turnaround, saying he doesn't see anything different.

"Baseball's very mysterious sometimes," Pena said, "and that's one of those things. I think we're still the same ballclub.

"... Everybody is doing their work and executing. We're a good defensive ballclub and we were playing below our potential. ... Tangible reason [for the improvement]? I would be making it up if I told you one."