Postponed game gives slumping Rays a break
Lightning and steady rain washed out the Tampa Bay Rays' series finale in Detroit.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said that wasn't bad news.
''This little break will be good,'' Maddon said after a two-plus hour rain delay postponed the game. ''We didn't win as many games as we wanted on this trip, but we're playing well.
''We just haven't gotten many breaks.''
The Rays left rain-soaked Comerica Park on Wednesday and will have a day off Thursday before hosting the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
''The nice thing about this is that it lets us make sure we are fresh and ready for the homestand,'' Maddon said. ''We didn't have to use any relievers and we've got the rotation set up.
''That's good because we need to start winning some home games. We've become a good road team, and I'll never bemoan that fact, but we aren't playing up to our standards at home. This is a good time to fix that.''
The Rays are an AL-best 15-10 on the road and 11-13 at home.
They've lost six of eight after building a season-high three-game lead over the New York Yankees in the AL East, to fall into third place for the first time since April 22.
''We're a good enough ballclub and we're stable enough mentally to be able to handle whatever is thrown at us,'' Tampa Bay outfielder B.J. Upton said. ''Come Friday, our heads will be clear and we'll be ready to go again.''
The Tigers will open a four-game series with the Boston Red Sox on Thursday afternoon, weather permitting, in the middle of a homestand that wraps up next week against the Minnesota Twins.
Detroit was ahead 2-0 when the game against the Rays was delayed in the third inning, but won't have a lead when the game is made up June 13 at Comerica Park.
The second-place Tigers have won three straight and trail the AL Central-leading Indians by 5 1/2 games.
As the only team in town with the Red Wings eliminated and the Lions players locked out, many of manager Jim Leyland's moves have been dissected by sports-radio hosts and callers.
''I don't ever mind that,'' Leyland said. ''I love that people are talking about baseball, and there are times that it is a legitimate debate.
''They talk about why I don't hit Miguel (Cabrera) third, and that's a very fair question. It wouldn't be a terrible idea to hit him third. The reason I don't do it is that, if he's hitting fourth and he comes up in the first inning, that means there's a runner on base. I like that - giving him that chance to bat with a runner on base - but that doesn't mean it isn't a legitimate point to ask why I don't do it the other way.''