ST. PETERSBURG -- Evan Longoria is hot.
The Rays third baseman has hit in 20 of his last 24 games, including a career-high 12-game hit streak and eight consecutive games with an RBI, which tied a club record. In addition, he has extra-base hits in 12 of his last 20 games, including a club-record eight straight that ended Sept. 9 at New York.
Nevertheless, Longoria's potent stretch is a little bittersweet given the way the Rays fell out of the race in September.
"I've gotten in this little run here at the end, and I kind of have a feeling of, 'Gosh, I wish we were in it now' because I feel like we are playing pretty good baseball as a club right now," Longoria said. "But it's a case of too little, too late. I guess it would have been a good time to peak had we been in the race."
Longoria got off to an amazing start in 2009, when he hit .369 with six home runs and 24 RBIs in April and followed with a May that saw him hit .296 with seven homers and 31 RBIs. He tapered off to .233 in June and .189 in July.
"If there was a guy on second base or third base, he was getting in at the beginning of the year. It was crazy," Longoria said. "I started off so hot. The whole month, it was pretty unbelievable, even for me. I was kind of unconscious [for the first two months]. And then I wasn't really good for a whole month. I kind of struggled the next month.
"It's tough. Guys make adjustments. It gets tough at points during the year, especially if you're tired, or if the club as a whole is in a lull and you're having a tough time winning ballgames. I mean, it's tough to put it together sometimes. So hopefully, with the offseason and my workout program, I can prevent that next year."
While Longoria isn't disappointed with what he's done personally this season, he still feels some disappointment due to the high expectations he has for himself.
"I am a little disappointed in myself that I couldn't help the team do more and get further," Longoria said. "Because I feel like we have the team to be in the playoffs. But so be it. We'll try to put the pieces back together and come back next year."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.