ARLINGTON -- The struggling Carlos Pena, who struck out four times in the Rays' 1-0 loss on Tuesday, went into Joe Maddon's office after the game and talked with his manager for approximately 30 minutes.
"I still believe he's expanding his strike zone too much, and we talked about that. We also talked about the fact he has a tendency to beat himself up," said Maddon, who noted that they talked about non-baseball subjects as well.
Maddon noted that he's trying to get Pena's mind off the numbers the first baseman sees on the scoreboard every time he steps to the plate.
"[Without] the defenses playing the way that they play today and the way things work, [against] a conventional defense, [Pena would be] hitting over .200 right now," Maddon said. "I understand he has not played up to his expectations, nor ours, to this point, but there are a lot of compounding moments here, a lot of negative complementary things here that are in place."
Maddon recalled seeing Mo Vaughn go through a similar experience when he played for the Angels and defenses began to shift against him.
"All of a sudden, he's hitting against this shift, and it gets into your head a little bit," Maddon said. "And thus you can draw some wrong conclusions, is my point."
Maddon went through several other theories before he cut to the chase about Pena: "His confidence has taken a hit based on a lot of well-struck balls being outs. That's the best way I can describe it. But that's just the way it is for a lot of lefties in the game today who are of that ilk."