ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays entered Tuesday night in a bit of a funk, but Yunel Escobar had a plan to lighten the mood.
The shortstop walked to his stall before a game between the Rays and Seattle Mariners at Tropicana Field with a cardboard sign that read, "WE NEED TO WIN". Tampa Bay began a six-game homestand with a five-game losing streak following defeats at the Arizona Diamondbacks (two games) and Los Angeles Dodgers (three). The skid marked the team's longest since losing six consecutive games to begin the 2011 season.
"He's always about winning," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Escobar. "He'll run around the dugout prior to the game and mention that to everybody prior to every game. Great energy. This guy does want to win."
The sign was in good fun, but it is another example of Escobar's impact on the Rays this season. After hitting .169 with two home runs and seven RBI in April, Escobar has become a major contributor for Tampa Bay. Entering Tuesday, he hit ...