ANAHEIM -- Entering Friday night's game, the Rays rotation was 12-2 with a 1.57 ERA in its last 18 starts.
On top of what the starting pitchers have done, the bullpen has been lights out. Closer Fernando Rodney leads all Major Leaguers in saves (37) and ERA (0.81); J.P. Howell has thrown 22 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings; and Joel Peralta has posted a 0.57 ERA in his last 16 appearances, striking out 25 of the 54 batters he's faced.
Catcher Jose Lobaton was asked to give his assessment of why the starting pitching has been so good.
"What I can say is, all of the pitchers are putting the ball in good spots," Lobaton said. "I think in making great pitches like at big moments, they concentrate for that pitch. I think the communication we got right now with the pitchers makes us look good in the game. Those situations, we go there and we know what they want to throw. I think the pitchers got that confidence to throw every pitch for a strike. ...
"The starters, they're throwing everything for a strike. Most of the time you're seeing them go seven innings or more. They're not missing their pitch, they're using the changeup, the cutter, the back door. I think that the best thing the pitchers are doing right now is they're throwing strikes."
Lobaton noted that the communication between the pitchers and Jose Molina and him has been remarkable. According to Lobaton, the pitchers are constantly talking pitching with the team's two catchers. What do they talk about?
"About situations, about what he likes to do with two strikes, what he likes to do with runners at second, with runners in scoring position and I think that's the key right now with me," Lobaton said. "We've got that confidence with the pitcher and they have the confidence with the catcher, where they feel like they can throw everything."
While the catchers call the pitches, the catchers know what the pitchers want to throw because of their communication.
"We call it being on the same page," Lobaton said.