ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays third baseman Evan Longoria said it's his job to mimic manager Joe Maddon in the clubhouse after a disappointing loss like Monday's 8-7 decision to the Blue Jays at Tropicana Field.
So it's only fitting that Longoria and Maddon used the same phrase to describe the feeling right after Tampa Bay let a 7-0 lead slip away, both saying the loss "stings a little bit." It's equally fitting that they both preached the importance of bouncing back Tuesday -- not through sweeping changes or rousing speeches, but simply by playing their game.
"It wasn't the last day of the world. It's business as usual today," Longoria said. "That was one of those games that you hope at the end of the year, you don't look back and say, 'That was the game we needed,' if we don't make the playoffs by a game or two. But again, it's a game that hopefully we can come out and put behind us tonight and find something positive to take out of it."
Added Maddon: "It stings a little bit, but it's a loss. It's a loss. You have to be able to put those losses behind you, regardless of how they occur. It just happened to be a very lopsided situation last night that turned against us. It's a loss. Move on."
The Rays have earned a reputation for having a loose clubhouse, with Maddon fostering an environment in which the players don't overly celebrate their big wins or mourn their tough losses. It's part of the reason they have also come to be known as a resilient group.
"That comes, I think, with the culture, the Rays culture that Joe and our management have created. I don't see any difference in this group," Longoria said. "It's not so much the mentality as it's been, really, the on-field play. We've been a loose group. We're having fun in here. It's just we're not getting the results on the field. There comes a point where you have to have those. It starts with tonight and it starts with going out there and putting yesterday behind us."
One thing the Rays aren't used to doing is losing leads -- especially not on the consistent basis they have this season. They've lost 12 games in which they held a lead at some point, the most in the Majors. But Maddon believes that will turn around, as well.
"It's been different. I don't know if concerning is the right word. I really believe in our guys," Maddon said. "We have a lot of really great, talented, good starting pitchers and pitchers in general. They're going through a tough stretch right now. I think it's going to come back to us."