Rays hitters have perfect tonic: amnesia
Tampa Bay has been the victim of three perfect games in four years, but the Rays have shown amazing ability to bounce back.
Seattle Times staff reporter
If there's a perfect game these days, chances are good that the Tampa Bay Rays are on the losing end.
They've been victimized three times in the last four seasons, including Felix Hernandez's gem on Wednesday. Before that, Mark Buehrle of the White Sox throw a perfecto against them in 2009, and Oakland's Dallas Braden did it in 2010.
The good news for the Rays is that they have shown a great ability to bounce back. After Buehrle's perfect game, Tampa Bay won eight of its next 12 games. After Braden, the Rays won 10 of their next 13 and won the AL East title.
On Thursday, the day after getting flummoxed by Felix, the Rays whipped the Angels, 7-0, and beat them again on Friday.
"We know how to bounce back, we've kind of been there before," B.J. Upton told the Tampa Bay Times. "It was kind of the joke around the clubhouse (Thursday). So I think we handled it pretty well and regrouped."
"Sometimes I think this team is just dumb enough to forget the things," said Evan Longoria.
"Our amnesia in this clubhouse is pretty good," added pitcher James Shields.
More perfect-game notes from Tampa Bay's perspective:
• They are the first team to have three thrown against them in the regular season. The Dodgers have been the victims of two regular-season perfectos (Dennis Martinez and Tom Browning), as well as Don Larsen in the World Series.
• All three, for Tampa Bay, were day games on the road. Hmmm.
• Four players were in the lineup for all three: Longoria, Upton, Ben Zobrist and Carlos Pena. The only other player to be on the wrong end of three perfect games was Alfredo Griffin (vs. Len Barker, Browning and Martinez).
• Joe Maddon was the first manager ejected from a perfect game (though Kirk Gibson was thrown out of one as a player, vs. Browning in 1988). Maddon also is the only manager on the losing end of three (Tommy Lasorda is at two). And Maddon has one more losing perfect game on his résumé: He was the bullpen coach for the Angels in 1994 when Texas's Kenny Rogers threw one against them.
• Speaking of Dallas Braden, he's been out all season recovering from last May's shoulder surgery, but had hoped to return to action for the A's in the second half of this season.
It's not going to happen. Braden needs more surgery on his left shoulder and has been ruled out for the season. He turned 29 Monday and is a prime candidate to be non-tendered this offseason.
Notes and quotes
• Texas manager Ron Washington is standing behind struggling Michael Young, who this week reached 340 consecutive homerless at-bats, and has just 24 extra-base hits, compared to 58 last year. Young ranked 134th out of 143 qualified players with a .645 OPS (on-base plus slugging).
"I know his season isn't up to par on what he's capable of doing, but I'm not getting off the ship," Washington told The Dallas Morning News. "He's done it for 12 years and the bottom line is before the year is over, he's going to do something grand for this club. I'm willing to wait for it."
• Though Melky Cabrera would technically be able to return to the Giants during the playoffs if they get that far, don't expect him to ever play for them again.
Catcher Buster Posey, who has emerged as their team leader, didn't do much to hide his anger on Wednesday when the news of Cabrera's suspension broke.
"Ultimately, it was a bad decision," Posey told the San Francisco Chronicle, adding without pause, "That's all I'm really going to say about it."
• The Braves went to a six-man rotation on Friday, which they'll use twice until an Aug. 30 off day. At that point, they'll revert to the traditional five-man rotation, and "we'll go with our best five, whichever the best five are. Or the healthiest five," manager Fredi Gonzalez told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The six are Tommy Hanson (whose activation from his second disabled list stint, for back issues, prompted the move), Tim Hudson (who has pitched two months with bone spurs in his left ankle), Ben Sheets (who has shined in six starts after being out of baseball two years following two major elbow operations), Mike Minor, Paul Maholm and Kris Medlen (who missed most of last season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery).