Carlos Pena: Rays Staying Focused on Winning Instead of Hot Start

Carlos Pena: Rays Staying Focused on Winning Instead of Hot Start The Rays have been the hottest — and best — team in baseball over the first two months of the season, posting a 32-12 record and staking a claim on first place in the AL East.

How have they done it? Faith.

“We believe,” Pena told Heidi Watney on Monday’s edition of Red Sox GameDay Live. “I think we believe in ourselves. It’s a team that finds a way. It’s been a lot of fun; we’ve had guys come off the bench and get big hits, we’ve had incredible pitching performances, and whether it’s been a guy making a play defensively, it’s really been a lot of fun. I’m just happy to be part of it.”

Though Pena’s batting average sits at .187 — not quite where he wants it to be — his power numbers haven’t been bad by any means. In 43 games thus far, he has hit seven homers and knocked in 27 runs.

“I’m obviously disappointed in the last few weeks, but I try to keep it in perspective,” Pena said. “It’s not about me, it’s about the ballclub. It brings the best out of me when I think about what I can do today to help the ballclub win instead of focusing on my numbers. It’s a long year, so I try to not pay too much attention to that. I think it brings me down when I do.”

Pena, a native of Haverhill, Mass., and a graduate of Northeastern University, will be a free agent at the end of the season — along with teammate Carl Crawford — but he’s not letting it become a distraction right now.

“We’ve been really good at focusing on what we have to do,” Pena said. “[We’re] staying in the present moment, as cliche as that might sound. It’s actually very powerful, and this team does that very well — just focusing on this tonight’s ballgame. Everything else, we’re oblivious to.”

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