"Championship-caliber teams don't make mistakes like we do," starter Chris Archer said. "Not as frequently. So across the board, we can all be a little bit better. And on the defensive side of the ball is one of the places we can be better."
Both Archer and Rays manager Kevin Cash called the recent flubs "uncharacteristic." What has been characteristic, however, is the timing of the errors.
"They come up a lot in tight ballgames, especially later in the ballgame," Cash said. "That's kind of what took place the day before and two days ago."
On Wednesday in a loss to Toronto, both of Tampa Bay's errors came in a two-run game. In Thursday's loss to Detroit, both errors were committed while the game was tied. Given how often Tampa Bay is involved in tight games -- 53 of its 69 games have been decided by four runs or fewer -- the trend of untimely errors can't continue.
The Rays have made 49 errors so far, which is second most in MLB. Sitting third in the highly competitive American League East, an improved mark defensively should help shift their fortune.
"Clean baseball is winning baseball," Cash said.
Worth noting • Shortstop Tim Beckham was in the starting lineup Friday for the first time since Sunday, after missing time with a sore right knee. Beckham, who entered Thursday's game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter, is in Tampa Bay's top five for home runs, RBIs and batting average.
"Beck's been so good for us offensively and defensively," Cash said. "Hopefully, it's a little bit of a three-day rest-recovery for him, and now we can have him fresh and help us win some games."
• Catcher Wilson Ramos is close to returning to the Rays, Cash said. Ramos, who is on the 60-day disabled recovering from October knee surgery, played Tuesday and Wednesday for Triple-A Durham and is expected to start in back-to-back games a couple more times.
"His progress has been really positive; all the reports," Cash said. "The catching's important, but he's also trying to get his timing at the plate. That seems to be coming around."
Jordan Horrobin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit.