The Tampa Bay Rays’ season has taken a sharp turn for the negative in the past 10 days, but there may not be a more positive person to handle the situation than Gabe Kapler.
The former Red Sox, in his first season with Tampa Bay, has been a veteran leader in the Rays’ clubhouse, even as they fall deeper out of the playoff picture.
The outfielder, who’s batted .271 in two seasons since taking a year off in 2007, spoke with NESN’s Heidi Watney before Saturday’s series-opener against the Red Sox and explained what’s gone wrong with the Rays in September.
“We’ve had a lot of guys who haven’t performed the way they expected to perform, myself included, a few pitchers included, a few position players included,” he said. “We just haven’t performed the way we were supposed to perform and when that happens, that’s what creates a lack of wins.
“It’s really often cut and dry. You have to play better to win, and we haven’t played well over the course of the last eight, nine, 10 games.”
Kapler said that losing slugger Carlos Pena is no excuse for the team’s dropoff.
“Coming into Fenway, we were expecting to have an opportunity to take a lead in the wild-card race or at the very least draw within one or two games,” he said. To be sitting where we are right now, there’s no way to sugarcoat the fact that that stinks.”