Maddon stresses need to execute small ball

Maddon stresses need to execute small ball

Maddon stresses need to execute small ball
BALTIMORE -- Even though the Rays managed to push a run across the plate in the second inning of Thursday night's 5-3 loss to the Yankees, one of their bigger snafus came that inning. Elliot Johnson had a leadoff single and Chris Gimenez reached on an error by Eduardo Nunez. Will Rhymes then popped out on a sacrifice bunt attempt.

While that failed bunt attempt can't be blamed for the loss, it was another in a series of failed attempts by the Rays to play small ball this season.

"We have not played that part of our game well yet," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We have to get better at that. That's a big part of what we do. Opportunities, I don't even know if they would have caused or helped us to win the game or add on runs. ... Yesterday, for instance, would have put us in a good position based on the part of the batting order that was coming up."

Maddon noted that the Rays spend a lot of time working on that aspect of their offense.

"It's not like it's not worked on," Maddon said. "It's been discussed heavily. It's been worked on heavily. We just have not to this point executed well."

Maddon allowed that it's easy to get frustrated about the lack of execution given the fact they began working on bunting and other plays relating to small ball during Spring Training.

"We talk about the situational component and the areas that we really want you to be efficient at, if there are any particular plays we want to incorporate during the season," Maddon said. "We always identify those guys who will be part of that potential play as a hitter. Anybody can be a part of it as a base runner, so they all have to be aware of that. But as a hitter, everybody's aware of who we're going to ask to do different things."