A nor'easter has claimed the power at the Slowinski residence as a casualty. We can only hope Steve baked enough loaves of Pumpernickel to feed the wife and kitten. I'm kidding about that last part...sort of. With Steve out of commission for a few days I'll bringing you the Rays Tank for this Halloween. There hasn't been much Rays news lately, but enjoy nevertheless.
- You might have heard that the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series over the weekend. Eric Freeman, writing for Deadspin, does an excellent job of describing what an overwhelming factor luck can play in a team's playoff success, stating "...baseball's coronation process takes place over the course of a maximum of 19 games per team, a far smaller sample size than the 162 games played during the regular season. While the postseason features the best teams in the sport, the number of games played necessarily demands that single events have an extremely large effect on the outcomes of series." He'd add later "The playoffs don't determine which team deserves a championship more than the other seven participants. We can only learn which team wins 11 games. In such a small sample, there is no "deserve." As Rays fans, I think we can agree with that.
- Mike Fast is always a must read at Baseball Prospectus. His piece last week on hot and cold zones for hitters was enlightening for those concerned with Sean Rodriguez. He had a real problem with pitches away from him in 2011. His TAv (BP's measure for total offensive value per out) on pitches up-and-away was .201, with .263 being league average. On pitches down-and-away his TAv drops to .168, with .211 being league average. By comparison, and an unfair one, Jose Bautista's down-and-away TAv was .308. Rodriguez didn't have a high number of plate appearances in each instance, so there's no use trying to make a definitive statement about him, but it's something to keep an eye on in 2012.
- Today is option-day. The Rays have three players to make decisions on; James Shields ($7M), Kyle Farnsworth ($3.3) and Kelly Shoppach ($3.2M). The Shields option is a definite. I assume the team will pick up Farnsworth's, but thats dependent on how they feel about the health of his elbow. The general opinion is that the team won't pick up Shoppach's option, but may look to bring him back for a lesser price.
- The many faces of Nolan Ryan: screen captured for your enjoyment.
- A reminder of just how much better Joe Posnanski is than the rest of us.