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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Rays keep bumbling toward finish line
By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer
Published September 30, 2007
Toronto's Adam Lind, left, celebrates his three-run homer in the eighth inning that broke open the game. Several key miscues by the Rays led to the opportunity.
Rays starter Edwin Jackson had another typically inconsistent outing: a no-hitter broken up in the fourth followed by a home run, six strikeouts offset by five walks and a no-decision.
TORONTO - The Rays played the second-to-last game of the season Saturday as if it were the first of spring training.
A brutally botched bunt play, a lack of hustle running to first, a crucial baserunning mistake and poor relief work added up to a 5-3 loss that was their 96th of a season that suddenly can't end soon enough.
"We have to get beyond this," manager Joe Maddon said. "We have done better, we've talked about that at length, and I stand by that. It's just if we're going to win on any kind of consistent basis, these are the mistakes we're trying to work through and not have them pop up at critical moments. And they did today."
The score was 1-1 going to the eighth when the Rays gave it away with a sorry sequence. There was a throwing error by SS Josh Wilson, a walk by reliever Dan Wheeler and two mistakes on the ensuing bunt: 3B Akinori Iwamura charged in even though Wheeler made the play, eliminating the option of getting the lead runner, then 1B Joel Guzman was out of position (and in the way since 2B Jorge Velandia was correctly covering first) to catch Wheeler's throw and failed to touch first.
That left the bases loaded, and the Jays took advantage with a sac fly and a three-run homer.
With the Rays rallying in the ninth, Iwamura singled in a run to make it 5-3 but kept running and was thrown out when 1B Matt Stairs cut off the throw and nabbed him going to second.
"My fault," Iwamura said through interpreter Masa Koyanagi. "I thought the ball was going to go over Stairs' head."
As if that weren't enough of a microcosm of what has gone wrong this season, there was Edwin Jackson's typically inconsistent outing: a no-hitter broken up in the fourth followed by a home run, six strikeouts offset by five walks and a no-decision.
FIRST AT SECOND: Iwamura's move to second base won't wait until spring training. Maddon asked and Iwamura, who hasn't played there regularly since high school, agreed to give it a try in today's finale, just to get a look and feel of what could be his new home, perhaps whether elite prospect Evan Longoria wins the starting third-base job or not.
Maddon said he told Brendan Harris, who spent the first half as the starting SS and the second as the 2B, to "really bear down" on all infield positions for next year, suggesting he'll become the top utility infielder.
ELITE COMPANY: 1B Carlos Pena became the 11th player in AL history to combine 100 walks, 45 home runs and 120 RBIs in a season, joining Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle, among others.
LISTEN UP: Maddon addressed the players before the game, talking about what it will take to get "over the hump" next season and wanting them to spend the winter thinking about work ethic, self-discipline and visualization.
MISCELLANY: Carl Crawford, who hasn't played since Sept.16, can win a fourth stolen base title if Baltimore's Brian Roberts doesn't steal his 50th late Saturday or today. ... B.J. Upton has struck out 154 times, five shy of Ben Grieve's 2001 team record. ... Rookie OF Justin Ruggiano picked up his first RBI.