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Rays playing lengthy games

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- It's not the length of so many of the Rays' recent games that bothers manager Joe Maddon. It's the early morning drive home afterwards.

"I don't get all bent out of shape about it," he said. "I just hate getting home at 1 o'clock in the morning after a 7 o'clock game."

The Rays have played a Major League-high five games of four-plus hours this season. Including Saturday's relative "quickie" (3:03) against the Indians, the average of their last 11 games was 3:43 -- with only one extra-inning game.

"The games have really been long," Maddon continued. "It's too much. I don't notice it during the games. But I really feel it when the game is over. I take my time a little bit after the game, but not a lot. I'm driving home and I think, 'Whoa! Where did that [time] go?' I don't like 'em that long."

Of the Rays' first 37 games, 28 have lasted longer than three hours, and 14 have gone longer than 3:30.

"We do have some guys who like to take a lot of time between pitches," Maddon said. "We like to see a lot of pitches, too. We are a patient offensive team. So there's a lot of pitches by both sides.

"The replays have to play into it somewhere. Either way, there's time consumed. And [Jeremy] Hellickson's not even pitching," added Maddon, referring to injured right-hander, who averaged 25.6 seconds between pitches last season.

Reliever Joel Peralta takes 34.7 seconds between pitches. Josh Lueke takes 30.5, and Brandon Gomes 29.2 seconds.

Sunday's starter Chris Archer leads all Major League starters with 26.6 seconds between pitches. David Price is second at 26.2.

"It works for me to be at my own pace," Archer said in self defense. "I need to go out there and compete to the best of my ability. If I have to slow down, if I need to take an extra breath, that's what I'm going to do."

Jim Hawkins is a contributor to
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