Given how the Rays started the season, going winless in their first six games and 1-8 through nine, it seemed it was going to take a lot just to get back to .500.
Actually, it took less than two weeks.
Wednesday's 4-1 win over the White Sox got Tampa Bay to the .500 mark at 9-9, making the Rays just the second of the 44 modern-day teams that started 0-6 to get even in the month of April, and just the 12th to make it at any point.
"That's a great feeling after the tough start that we had," outfielder Matt Joyce said. "That's really a testament to the talent on this team. ... The biggest thing was not panicking. I think a lot of managers and a lot of teams would really hit the panic button, but Joe (Maddon) is as calm as they come. I can't say enough about how great he's been."
Maddon is quick to credit the players, specifically the way they've played defense and pitched, but also the way the offense came around. The Rays have played without Evan Longoria, without Manny Ramirez and, recently, without Johnny Damon.
"It's great to get back (to .500)," Maddon said. "You look up in the morning, you look at the paper you see that, nice feeling. But that's not the kind of nice feeling that gets you into the playoffs."
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