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Rays come out flat, earn loss No. 100
By MARC TOPKIN
Published October 1, 2006
CLEVELAND - Had the Devil Rays not made so many trades, or not sustained so many injuries, manager Joe Maddon said he would have been concerned. Maybe even perturbed.
But after the Rays earned their 100th loss of the season Saturday night, 6-1 to the Indians, Maddon insisted that reaching triple digits was not particularly troubling.
"Under a different set of circumstances I would have been upset," Maddon said. "Nobody likes to lose 100 games, but to me it's just a number. And it only is what you make it to be.
"The difference between 98, 99 and 100 is really not that big as far as I'm concerned. My focus is on the big picture, what we're trying to get done. We're playing a lot of young people, trying to get the evaluations proper. Again, it's about the process."
With their third 100-loss season secured, the Rays (61-100) today will have a chance to finish with the majors' worst record.
The Royals, who play at Detroit, are also 61-100, and the first pick in the June draft is at stake.
The Rays got down early Saturday, as Jae Seo gave up five runs in five innings, and didn't do much about it. They made two errors, hit into three double plays, gave up three homers and had only six hits.
Seo, expected to be a key part of the rotation next season, said he felt fine but wasn't sharp. He ended up 1-8 with a 5.00 ERA for the Rays after being acquired in late June from the Dodgers.
"This year has been up and down, but it's okay," Seo said. "Next year will be much better."
The one positive for the Rays was that Ty Wigginton's seventh-inning double snapped their 0-for-26 streak with runners in scoring position, going back to the seventh inning Wednesday. Still they are 1 for their past 32.
CRAWFORD DONE? Carl Crawford wasn't in the lineup Saturday and likely won't play today. Maddon said Crawford's occasionally sore left wrist was "a little flare-y" and he wanted backup Damon Hollins to play.
"I'm fine with that," Crawford said.
Crawford is seeking a third American League stolen base title and has 58 (one shy of his career high), six more than Chone Figgins of the Angels. Crawford is also in line to lead the AL in triples for the third straight season and with 16 has five more than Cleveland's Grady Sizemore.
Not playing will deny Crawford the opportunity - albeit unlikely - to notch a few more historical accomplishments.
With two more homers, he would become the third player in AL history to have 20 homers and 50 steals (and would have a shot to be the fourth player all time to have 20 homers and 60 steals). With five more RBIs, the would join Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby as the only players to increase their average, home runs and RBIs in five straight seasons with a minimum of 250 at-bats.
Maddon said he also may give Rocco Baldelli today off.
HARD WORKING MAN: Jorge Cantu was unhappy with his down year and plans to do something about it.
Rather than go home to Mexico and play a month or so of winter ball as he has the past three years, Cantu will spend the winter in the Tampa Bay area working with trainer Ron Porterfield and infield coach Tom Foley on improving his conditioning and defense.
"It was a really down year for me," Cantu said. "I need some time to be myself, to readjust, to regroup. I'm devoting myself to getting my shape and my confidence back from last year."
WINTER WONDERS: The Rays will be able to keep close tabs on four players they are planning to send to winter ball.
Relievers Seth McClung and Edwin Jackson are scheduled to head to Venezuela to pitch for Magallenes, where Class A pitching coach Marty DeMerritt will be on the staff. Controversial outfielder Elijah Dukes and catcher Shawn Riggans are headed to the Dominican Republic to play for Licey, where Class A coach Manny Castillo will be on the staff.
MISCELLANY: Delmon Young had his 14th multihit game out of 29. ... The start of the game was delayed 90 minutes by heavy rain. ... Greg Norton will fall two games short of a $25,000 incentive bonus for 100 games.