BOSTON -- The Rays' starting pitching has not been up to par thus far this season, which has been cited as a cause for the bullpen's dismal performance.
Cause-and-effect logic has suggested that the relief corps has been overworked due to the team's starters not going as deep into the games as they normally do, and thus, the relievers have not performed as well as they are capable of pitching.
No doubt, there is a modicum of truth to the theory, but Tampa Bay's relievers think they must shoulder their part of the blame, too.
"We want to do better," said J.P. Howell, who has a 7.71 ERA. "We know we have to do better."
Starter Matt Moore went 6 1/3 innings in Sunday's 6-4 loss to the Red Sox, which offered some relief to the bullpen after the three previous games in which the starters had pitched just 13 innings.
Even if the relievers are running on fumes due to the short outings by the starters, the bullpen's results have not been good, particularly in the eighth inning. The Rays have been outscored 18-0 in the eighth inning this season, with all 18 runs coming on the current road trip. In addition, entering Monday's game, Tampa Bay has allowed 28 runs in the seventh inning or later, which ranked as the most in the Major Leagues.
"We shouldn't be that way," Joel Peralta said. "We should be able to do a better job than we have done until now."
Peralta is off to a slow start and is trying to find his groove. A part of him feels like he would be sharper if he had played winter baseball, which he did not this offseason, but he accepted responsibility for his results. Entering Monday's game against the Red Sox, Peralta had a 27.00 ERA after five appearances.
"It's my fault and I should be ready," Peralta said. "I'm not here to get better. I'm here to do a job. I hope I get better now. At least yesterday I went out there and did better, but I should be better by now."
Burke Badenhop has a 6.75 ERA in five appearances this season. He wasn't pointing any fingers at the team's starters, either.
"We should still be getting it done -- especially the last couple, we've kind of let it get away," Badenhop said. "Everything's not going to be perfectly set up, six, seven, eight and nine all the time. It's going to differ from time to time."
Maddon reaches 500-win plateau in Beantown
BOSTON -- Manager Joe Maddon claimed his 500th win with the Rays thanks to their 1-0 victory over the Red Sox on Monday afternoon.
"Honestly, until [it was called to my attention], I had no idea this was going on," Maddon said. "It really speaks to the quality of the players in the organization, whereas the first couple of years spoke to the lack of quality. All of a sudden it got better in year three. I just happened to be standing in the corner of the dugout.
"It's just the ability, the skill level, the way this group cares. All that stuff has really increased on an annual basis, so the 500 wins, I'm just happy to be the steward of this group and I've reaped the benefits of their play."
Maddon's first win as manager of the Rays came on April 3, 2006, via a 2-0 victory over the Orioles. After two losing seasons, Tampa Bay went to the World Series in Maddon's third season at the helm.
"Better baseball players make you a lot smarter," Maddon teased.
Faith in Maddon by the ownership also played into Monday's achievement.
"At the end of the second year, that was the moment where the ownership could have thought something differently," Maddon said. "But they chose to stay with me, and that's part of why I wanted to sign that extension when we got that opportunity [during this past offseason].
"I've said it before. This is the best place in the Major Leagues to be as a manager, and I really believe we've become a destination spot for the players. I know we don't pay the most money, but as a place to participate and as a place to grow and feel free as a Major Leaguer to take your game to the field, I think it's a great place to play."
Evan Longoria called Maddon's 500th win "pretty cool" before adding: "But I'm sure he would say the same thing. They're all the same until you win championships. So we're all working for the same thing. I'm definitely happy for him and proud of him."
Cobb demoted to make room for Gomes in 'pen
BOSTON -- The Rays optioned right-hander Alex Cobb to Triple-A Durham and recalled right-hander Brandon Gomes following Monday's 1-0 win over the Red Sox.
Gomes, 27, saw his first Major League action in 2011, making 40 appearances over two stints in his first season in the Rays' system. He was delayed in Spring Training due to his recovery from offseason back surgery.
Gomes was 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA in five appearances for the Bulls this season.
Cobb, 24, is a starter, but he was recalled on Sunday as insurance for the bullpen. He did not pitch during his two-day stint with Tampa Bay.
Cobb is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts for the Bulls this season. He made 12 starts with Durham and nine for the Rays over three stints in the Major Leagues in 2011. Logging his first experience in The Show, Cobb was impressive while posting a 3-2 record with a 3.42 ERA.
On Aug. 18, Cobb had season-ending surgery to remove a blood clot and blockage in the area of his first right rib.
Maddon compares Jennings', Crawford's skills
BOSTON -- Manager Joe Maddon recently was asked to compare former Rays outfielder Carl Crawford to current outfielder Desmond Jennings.
"They're kind of two different players," Maddon said. "At the same age, Desmond [is] probably more advanced as a baseball player, Carl [was] more of a slashing kind of a guy, with power. Carl's got power, more a slashing kind of hitter. Desmond is more willing to stand back there and take a different kind of swing. Speed-wise, I don't know who would win a race. That'd be a pretty good race right there. Defensively, [they're] pretty close."
Ben Zobrist started in right field Monday morning against the Red Sox carrying a streak of 246 career games in the outfield without committing an error. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the most of any active player to start their career in the outfield. Zobrist's errorless streak is the longest of its kinds since Darren Lewis, who played 392 games in the outfield with San Francisco and Oakland from 1990-94 before his first error.
The Rays made a Minor League deal, acquiring right-hander Matt Buschmann from the Nationals for cash. He will be sent to Double-A Montgomery.
Sam Fuld, who is on the 60-day disabled list after right wrist surgery, has been in Boston for the entire series. On Tuesday, he will head to Cleveland, where he had the surgery, to have the original cast removed and have it replaced with "some kind of moveable splint," according to Fuld.
"After tomorrow, I'll probably start doing some kind of rehab, however limited it may be initially," Fuld said. "The first weeks after surgery, you can't do anything."
Continuing on his rehab assignment, Rays center fielder B.J. Upton (lower back soreness) will play his first game for Montgomery on Monday night. In four games with Class A Charlotte, Upton was 1-for-11 with a walk, a run scored and an RBI. He is expected to play in Montgomery's next three games.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.