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Tampa Bay Rays: Joe Maddon Defends Carlos Pena

Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon defended 1B Carlos Pena as his team prepared to take on the Texas Rangers on Wednesday. With the Rays mired in a four-game losing streak and Pena hitting .188, Maddon told the Tampa Bay Times that Pena had been unfairly cast as a "whipping boy." "I refuse to let people just jump on Carlos,'' Maddon said.

"I really try to look at the good with the bad and try to balance it out as well as I possibly can. For me, there is no whipping boy on this team. We win together, we lose together. Right now, we're just coming off this great streak and we were the next best thing since the '27 Yankees and all of a sudden we lose four tough games and everybody's going negative-town on us, negative-ville. I ain't going there man.''

Pena is hitting just .130 in his last ten games, and has gone without a hit in his last five. He approached Maddon after Tampa Bay's 1-0 loss to the Rangers Tuesday and the two spoke in Maddon's office for about 30 minutes.

For more on the Rays, please be sure to check out our blog DRaysBay and SB Nation Tampa Bay for all the latest news and updates.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.