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Rays pregame notes: Travel not a problem for road warrior Rays; David Price uses Hubway to travel to and from Fenway

10.04.13 at 3:48 pm ET
By
David Price

David Price

Game 1 of the American League Division Series will be the Rays’ sixth contest in four cities in a week. None of those cities were the Rays’ hometown, and two of the games were of the win-or-go-home variety.

But Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon, whose team had exactly one off day in September, downplayed the idea that the Rays are worn out from the travel and do-or-die situations in which they have found themselves.

“There’s also energy to be derived from that, too,” Maddon said before the start of Game 1 of the ALDS series against the Red Sox. “As you’re physically tired, I mean, mentally if you could find some energy, that’s a good thing to counteract that. When you win games like that the group benefit is incredible. As a group you feel like you could do anything. You could beat anybody.

“So you have to balance all that out. Yeah, it would be nice not to be on the road this long, but it is kind of cool we did.”

Indeed, the Rays spent Thursday in Boston, and the manager noted they all had a good night’s sleep as a result — a factor that can work wonders for a team that has been on the road for so long.

“The clubhouse, they seem to be in good order right now,” Maddon said. “I understand why people would say these things, but there’s energy to be derived from these moments, too.”

OTHER RAYS NOTES

David Price, Matt Moore, Alex Cobb, Jeremy Hellickson, Chris Archer — the list goes on. It’s no secret the Rays have made a habit of developing good, young pitching, and the rest of the league has had no choice but to take note. Those arms are front and center as the Red Sox and Rays start their American League Division Series at Fenway Park.

Friday afternoon, hours before the first pitch of Game 1, Sox manager John Farrell went as far to say that Tampa Bay “might be the model when it comes to drafting, developing, starting pitching.”

Tampa lefty Price, slated to start Game 2 Saturday, suggested there was a particular plan or process that the front office institutes. But Maddon said there is no secret formula that allows them to do it — just patience.

“Most of the guys by the time they get here have plenty of minor league innings involved,” Maddon said. “It’s nothing really complicated. It’s not any big secret. I just think we’re patient with our guys. I think a lot of it has to do with the original scouting concept, who you sign to begin with, whether it’s a good delivery. Character and makeup kind of things are very important to us, also.”

Maddon pegged fastball command as the biggest pillar of an individual’s success — “The whole pitching world revolves around fastball command,” he said — and noted that a changeup and curveball are the organization’s preferred secondary offerings.

– The Rays, being the small-market, low-payroll team they are, have been the subject of much speculation regarding their ability to retain their homegrown stars who fetch big money when they hit free agency. Price is one of the next players in line to be the center of those whispers, and he is very much aware of it.

“Those thoughts have crossed my mind, but they haven’t in a couple of weeks,” said Price, who will not be a free agent until 2016. “And that’s good. I want those thoughts to stay away. I want to enjoy my time here.”

Price is trying to put the blinders on, though, with the Rays in the midst of a postseason run. But with former teammate James Shields — shipped to the Royals for outfielder Wil Myers last winter — serving as a recent example, he knows his time may be limited.

“Honestly, this is a time right now for pure excitement, pure joy for our team or organization,” he said, later adding, “Whatever happens, I want to completely absorb myself and my team, and my teammates like we have all year. And that’s a big part of why we’re here right now.”

– Price admitted to using Hubway, the City of Boston’s bike-rental system, to get to and from Fenway the last couple days. He first noted its existence earlier this season and looked forward to giving it a try in 2014.

When the Rays ended up coming to Boston for this series, he adjusted accordingly.

“Only one curb, no cars,” Price said to a room of laughter.

Said Maddon: “It doesn’t surprise me anything that David does.  I love his ways.  He’s a young man that’s ‑‑ he’s Peter Pan.  He’s going to be that way forever, and I love that about him. I wish more of our guys could be that way.”

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