HOUSTON -- The Rays return home Friday for 10 games against teams with records under .500 and a chance to go into the All-Star break on a positive note.
"We'd like to think so," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We've been playing pretty well. Getting David [Price] back, and it would be nice to get Longo back also," referring to Evan Longoria, who played at designated hitter Wednesday and Thursday while battling plantar fasciitis.
"A lot of good things are happening for us right now, but we've got to do it on the field," he added. "Theory needs to be reality, and then all of a sudden it's a good thing. So we're trying to make theory and reality come together."
Coming off an emotional homestand, Maddon said he was concerned about the mental aspect of the team heading into the four-game series that ended Thursday in Houston.
"I didn't know how we would react," he said. "Just looking at my state of mind, maybe a little bit tired compared to the last couple of days. We'd been at home, a lot of emotion in the Toronto series, and then the Detroit series and having to travel to a new ballpark. So I was a little bit concerned."
But that uneasiness was put to rest with back-to-back shutouts, 12-0 and 8-0, in the first two games of the series in Houston.
Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.