Longo knows Rays' defense can play better

After third baseman's error against KC, club has committed 12 in last 9 games

Longo knows Rays' defense can play better

KANSAS CITY -- Fielding woes are plaguing the Rays.

On Monday night, they experienced a three-error game, which included the team's first multi-error inning since Aug. 23 at Oakland. After an error-free game on Tuesday night, the Rays had another error on Wednesday, which cost the team a run in a 6-3 loss to the Royals.

The Rays have committed 12 errors in their last nine games.

"I think we're all getting frustrated," said Evan Longoria, who booted a ground ball in the second inning of Wednesday night's loss to allow a run to score. "It's definitely something we've prided ourselves on in the past. And, just have to work harder -- continue to put in the work. You're going to make physical mistakes. I think some of the things we're trying to avoid are the mental mistakes.

"I know [Rays manager Kevin] Cash has spoken to that, the plays where we allow teams to take extra bases on us by not paying attention, or guys to beat out plays in the infield because we take too much time with the ball in our hand. Physical errors happen. You can't make every play. But those are the things we're trying to put emphasis on right now."

Longoria allowed that bad fielding can be contagious, calling the fielding woes "a momentum killer."

"We can't expect the pitching to get us out of it every time we make a mistake," Longoria said. "Of course we'd like that to happen. As a defense, you hope your pitching picks you up, and more times than not they do. They can't be expected to do that every time.

"This is Major League Baseball, we're not playing at the park anymore. We're playing against good teams that if you give them an extra out, they take advantage of it. We have to, as a defense, understand that the burden is on us. We need to make those outs when they need to be made. Because there's going to be plays that are going to be tough plays, or plays where you hope the pitchers pick you up. But the routine ones have to be made."

A frustrated Cash commented that "at some point we have to take it upon ourselves to start fixing these things."

"When we do, we'll start winning ballgames," Cash said. "Until then, the mental lapses and defensive mistakes are going to be real tough to overcome."

Cash said there's plenty of blame to share.

"It's on all of us," Cash said. "Myself included. We have to stay on top of it. If we're not putting these guys in the right positions and we're not reminding them like we should where the ball needs to go, that's on us as much as it is on them."

Winning Rays teams have been built on pitching and defense. When the defense is suspect, that's a tough formula to adhere to in order to win.

"The formula has worked," Longoria said. "We have [the talent on defense], it just hasn't been great this year. And if we want to win, if we want to be where we know we can be at the end, we have to do those things."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.