Rays refuse to allow finger-pointing in clubhouse

Rays refuse to allow finger-pointing in clubhouse

ARLINGTON -- Earlier in the season, the Rays' offense and defense struggled while the pitching surged.

Many times this kind of situation can lead to a division between the different factions on a team. That has not happened in the Rays' clubhouse.

"I think there's such a good feeling among the group that they're able to balance that," manager Joe Maddon said. "Of course, the pitchers have had such a good year, and the position players are rebounding right now."

On many occasions this season, the starting pitchers put forth solid efforts only to see errors or a lack of offense lead to a loss or no-decision. Yet there has not been any finger-pointing.

"I think our pitchers are mature enough to understand the whole thing," Maddon said. "Not only the starters, but some relievers, guys that have been around a little bit that I think would say, 'That's not how we do things around here. That's not how this game works.'"

Matt Joyce credits the pitching staff for being "remarkable" in how well they have remained focus.

"They've never said one word about us struggling or whether or not we were providing runs," Joyce said. "And that's probably one of the [reasons] why they've been so successful. They've been concentrating on what they have to do and what their job is instead of worrying about something they can't control."

Maddon pointed out that the Rays have had more of a balanced act in the second half of the season, an improvement that coincided with the team going through what Maddon referred to as a "Spring Training week," when the Rays played 10 games at home and went through fundamental drills throughout that week.

"Even though we weren't highly successful, win-wise, we started playing better baseball," he said. "That was the residue of that 10 games. We started playing better defensively. And, of course, the offense started clicking when everybody came back. But we were a better baseball team fundamentally after the break. So I think that helped a little bit."

Since the All-Star break, the defense has come back strong and the offense has been much improved. And the pitching has continued to chug along, rock solid.

James Shields took a tough 1-0 loss on Tuesday night -- the Rays' fourth 1-0 loss of August -- but he shrugged and noted that games like those are going to happen, adding that pointing fingers never works.

"We're in it for the long haul as a team," Shields said. "It's kind of a cliché, but you win as a team and you lose as a team. That's the way we treat things. You've got to have both sides of the coin working. If you cause turmoil in the clubhouse, it doesn't work out. Joe [Maddon] always says you're accountable for your own actions. The sooner you can accept that, the better off our team is going to be."

And despite Tuesday's loss, Shields noted that the team has been playing well.

"Overall, we've been playing really good baseball. The last couple of games have been disappointing, but we've been playing really good baseball, and if we can stay consistent like that the rest of the year, we're good," he said.