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Maddon: Rays miss Price, but bats must produce

OAKLAND -- The Rays have completed one full turn of their rotation without David Price, and his absence has, of course, been obvious. In five Price-less games, Rays starters have lasted under five innings on average. Price, meanwhile, went 8 2/3 in his first outing for Detroit.

But Tampa Bay's bullpen has been sharp, and the pitching staff -- which became the fastest ever to 1,000 strikeouts on Tuesday -- is not giving up many runs. The greatest concern remains the offense, which can't seem to buy a hit with runners in scoring position.

Entering Wednesday's series finale against the A's, the Rays were averaging 3.2 runs per game over their last 10. They ranked 12th in the American League with men in scoring position (.243), 13th with men in scoring position and two outs (.196) and 14th with the bases loaded (.220).

"I don't think it's a matter of David not being on board. Primarily, we've had opportunities offensively, and David doesn't hit," said manager Joe Maddon. "For us to really get where we want to get to, we have to be better in that moment."

Bases-loaded spots, especially, have plagued the Rays.

"I think sometimes [we] try to get too much out of that play," Maddon said. "With two outs, of course, you've got to get a hit. With less than two outs, I think sometimes we try to get them all home, as opposed to just one of them home. Overall, throughout this whole season, we just haven't been very good."

In their first two games in Oakland, the Rays went 1-for-15 with men in scoring position.

Aaron Leibowitz is an associate reporter for
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