After watching the Nats take 2 of 3 from the Rays this week, I’m left with one major thought: The Rays are one of the worst fundamental baseball teams I’ve seen play here. For all the rumors of how Joe Maddon is a genius, his team certainly made mistake after mistake defensively. Just in the 3rd inning of the game tonight they made three basic defensive mistakes:
– BJ Upton failed to properly prepare himself to throw home after catching a sac fly and was (for some inexplicable reason) surprised to see Danny Espinosa tagging up and scoring easily.
– Carlos Pena took a cut-off throw and failed to pay any attention to Ian Desmond, who alertly scampered to 2nd base without a throw.
– Matt Moore didn’t pay frankly any attention to Espinosa while on second base, allowing a double steal to occur, both runners of which eventually scored and proved to be the lead-changing runs that turned the game.
The Rays are the 2nd worst team in terms of errors in the league. There’s specific questions about the constant shifts put in play by Maddon against players not necessarily known as pull hitters. Their current third basemen situation is atrocious; a throwing error in the first game, a simple catch missed in the 2nd game (when Bryce Harper ran from 2nd on a ball to the shortstop) and a fielding error in the 3rd game. Yes I know they’re missing Evan Longoria … but the Nats are missing their highest paid player right now too in Jayson Werth. And, they clearly are pushing the limits of the rulebook as evidenced by the Joel Peralta pine-tar incident.
The Rays were probably lucky to avoid the sweep frankly; they got a win with their ace David Price giving up 4 runs in 7 innings while our soon-to-be-demoted #5 starter Chien-Ming Wang conspired to give away a game possibly for the last time for this team as a starter.
Seems to me the Rays need to tighten up their professionalism.