Offensive consistency lacking in first 26 games

Offensive consistency lacking in first 26 games

CHICAGO -- Twenty-six games into the season, the Rays are four games under .500. Joe Maddon is not worried, and he's not making excuses -- even with starting pitchers Matt Moore, Alex Cobb and Jeremy Hellickson all on the disabled list.

"The injuries, that happens," Maddon said. "That's something that we anticipate is going to happen, and we expect to be able to play through those bad moments. We expect to have the depth to cover that. I'm not even considering that as part of our record right now. I'm not worried about that."

Still, Maddon feels his squad has endured some non-injury misfortune.

"We've hit the ball extremely well this month, and our numbers don't reflect that," he said. "We've had great at-bats, we've seen a lot of pitches, we've accepted our walks -- offensively, these guys have done a tremendous job."

And yet, Tampa Bay ranks 10th in the American League in runs scored.

"We've had some really good nights," Maddon said, "but on a consistency level, it's been a little bit un-fortuitous, which I want to believe will come back to us. As long as we keep the same approach, that's going to come back to us."

Defensively, the Rays rank third in the AL in errors -- even with Sunday's miserable four-error performance.

"Outside of yesterday, we've been doing some great work on defense," Maddon said.

As for the patchwork rotation, well, it's keeping the Rays above water.

"Cesar [Ramos has] had two good starts in a row, [Erik] Bedard's still seeking his first really good one, but I think it's in there, and David [Price] and [Chris Archer] have been really, really good," Maddon said. "I'm a big believer in you have to win the battle of inches, and sometimes the inches work against you -- and they'll continue to work against you if you give up or you say, 'Woe is me,' or all that stuff. But if you just say, 'We need to keep working at this, we need to keep believing in what we do,' then the pendulum comes back to your side. And that's what I see that's going to happen here. I'm very confident."

Tony Meale is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.