ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays' pitching has been off at times, and they've struggled to hit even more often. But as several players noted Friday afternoon, they haven't exactly been catching a lot of breaks with the officials, either.
The latest came in the 10th inning of Thursday's 10-6 loss to the Orioles in Baltimore. Adam Jones hit a long single to right field, and the Orioles' baserunners were held up by third-base coach Bobby Dickerson. As they worked their way back, it appeared Jones did not touch second base as the rules require. Rays manager Joe Maddon argued the call to no avail, just as he's vocally disagreed with several others this season, and then Matt Wieters hit a walk-off grand slam.
The most notable instance of a potentially game-changing call this season also came on the Rays' latest road trip, when Ben Zobrist was ruled out on a called strike three that home-plate umpire Marty Foster later admitted was wrong. Zobrist was involved in another questionable call during Tampa Bay's first homestand, when first-base umpire James Hoye ruled that Evan Longoria passed Zobrist on the basepaths in the Rays' April 4 loss to the Orioles.
Maddon didn't want to play the part of victim Friday, but he did once again stress his desire for Major League Baseball and its umpires to do everything possible to get each call correct.
"We haven't [caught any breaks], and I think at some point you eventually get some things coming back to you," Maddon said. "But here's the thing about breaks: I don't want breaks as much as I just want what's right. I'm never looking for somebody to make the wrong call in our favor. That's not what I want. I just want the right call to be made on a consistent basis, then you can live with that.
"Of course it's difficult. And maybe that gets into the purview of instant replay and why it's important and which kind of plays would be reviewable and why. That's it. When it comes down to breaks, you just want what's right, what you've earned. You don't want anything you have not earned."
Maddon heard back from Foster after his questionable call but said he had not spoken to second-base umpire Gerry Davis, who made the call Thursday night in the Orioles game.
"And I don't expect him to. I'm not looking for that, quite frankly. I appreciate it. I respect it," Maddon said. "Those guys, I know, are trying very, very hard. I know those guys probably lose sleep and are very upset with themselves when they make calls or bad calls like that, just like I am when I do something dumb on the bench. We all make mistakes. I understand that.
"What can help them make less mistakes? You can't necessarily help me make less mistakes on the bench as a manager, but you possibly can help officials make less mistakes through technology. Maybe that's what this is speaking to loudly right now more than anything else."