The Rays Tank: One More Day Of Baseball

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 27: The St. Louis Cardinals bench awaits at home plate after David Freese #23 hits a walk off solo home run in the 11th inning to win Game Six of the MLB World Series against the Texas Rangers at Busch Stadium on October 27, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals won 10-9. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

MLB Chatter

Holy cow, this is what great baseball looks like. The Cardinals were one out away from being eliminated twice last night, but they came back both times and won the game on a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 11th. Absolutely wild. We've got one more game of baseball this season, and we can only hope that it's as good as last night's game was.

The biggest article out yesterday was Mike Fast's breakdown of heat maps. He argues that heat maps don't actually tell us all that much and aren't very predictive for the future, as the data isn't as granular as they make it appear. It makes sense; there's a lot smoothing involved in making a pretty looking heat map, and it's not surprisingly that the smoothing doesn't necessarily reflect reality. 

So consider this a word of caution to all those looking at heat maps. They're fun to look at and visually pleasing, but depending on the data and smoothing, some may be less accurate than a simple 2x2 square of hot/cold zones.

Also, hidden in that piece is a small nugget on Sean Rodriguez. Apparently he has lots of trouble against pitches away, both high and low.

Tony LaRussa made some odd comments after Game 5 about how on-base percentage is a "dangerous" stat, and Dave Cameron broke down why that was a load of bollocks. I'll never understand how LaRussa has garnered this reputation as a terrific manager. Maybe I'm too young, but his moves always frustrate me whenever I pay attention to the Cards.

Rays Talk

Apparently James Shields thinks the Rays are definitely going to pick up his team option (duh) and that he'll still be on the Rays come the beginning of next year. I certainly hope this is true, and I have no problems with players being optimistic and ignoring trade rumors and such. But if the Rays get an offer for a young impact bat for Shields, they're going to be faced with a real tough decision.

The upshot of yesterday's St. Pete council meeting: Foster is going to meet with Stu soon. So that's good (hopefully). At the very least, it's a step in the right direction.

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