Rays pregame notes: Joe Maddon hoping Wil Myers' 'oblivious nature' pays off; Delmon Young gets nod over Matt Joyce in Game 2

October 05, 2013 - 1:48 pm
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Rays rookie right fielder Wil Myers had an eventful '€” to say the least '€” Game 1 Friday afternoon, but Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon isn'€™t running away from him. Maddon chalked up Myers'€™ game-changing defensive gaffe to a '€œmental mistake,'€ and hopes the talented 22-year-old can block out what could very well be a raucous Fenway crowd Saturday night. '€œI hope his oblivious nature really takes over today,'€ Maddon said. '€œOne of the things that I thought really helped him coming into this baseball season is that when I got to know him, he was not overwhelmed with anything. '€œI talked to him this morning. He was in good spirits. '€¦ I thought he was in a good place today. So we'€™ll see how it plays out.'€ Myers, who was the big return in the deal that sent James Shields to Kansas City last winter, hit .293 with a .478 slugging percentage and 15 homers after his mid-June callup to the majors. Maddon wouldn'€™t be surprised to see Myers turn it up in Game 2. '€œBeyond [the mental error], it could be exacerbated by the Fenway faithful, when they'€™re going to get quite loud right there,'€ Maddon said. '€œIf he channels that properly, it could work to his advantage actually. There'€™s a lot of great players in the history of sport that like to be booed or maybe have your name chanted loudly. '€œIf he could possibly channel it in a positive direction, you might see a couple of balls fly over the wall today.'€ OTHER RAYS NOTES Down 1-0 in the best-of-five American League Division Series, the Rays are starting the feel the pressure. And Maddon doesn'€™t mind one bit. '€œI always thought that pressure is a good thing,'€ the Rays skipper said. '€œIf the word '€˜pressure'€™ is being utilized, that'€™s probably good, because something good is going on, something significant has the potential to happen. So I like those moments. And I think David [Price] does, also.'€ Maddon also spoke to the idea that the left-handed Price benefits from how easy-going he is, even on days he starts. It changes individual to individual, and Maddon doesn'€™t want to fix what isn'€™t broken '€” and it clearly isn'€™t broken for Price, who tossed a complete-game against the Rangers in Monday'€™s wild-card tiebreaker. Price'€™s lightheartedness, though, doesn'€™t mean he isn'€™t focused. '€œJust watch his eyes today,'€ Maddon said. '€œHe'€™s got a laser focus, there'€™s no doubt in my mind. You have to have that kind of focus to have that kind of command.'€ -- Delmon Young got the start at designated hitter over Matt Joyce for Game 2, and Maddon said the decision wasn'€™t strictly stats-based. '€œDelmon'€™s really demonstrated the ability to come through in key moments at the end of the season. I believe in that, too, beyond numbers,'€ Maddon said. '€œI believe there'€™s a certain group of people that are able to really rise to moments or occasions.'€ Maddon wouldn'€™t explicitly say Young is his everyday DH, but he did admit to riding the hot hand, which is more of a testament to how locked in Young is, as opposed to what Joyce hasn'€™t been bringing to the plate. '€œDelmon is playing at a different level when it comes to a mental at-bat, quite frankly,'€ Maddon said.

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