Why is this Rays team struggling night after night offensively? Why is it that nearly every SP we've faced pitches deep into the game, when many times their history suggests otherwise? I've taken a look at the base on balls that we no longer are getting and think that might be the culprit.
During the first White Sox series Brian Anderson mentioned that this year AL pitchers were approaching Rays hitters in a different fashion. They're going roght after them, by throwing strike one. The theory being the Rays are pretty bad hitters. He's correct. Last year the Rays scored nearly 5 runs per game with the lowest team BA in years. It might have set a record
As we know in business nothing happens till a sale is made. So as in baseball, nothing happens without runners on base, no stolen bases, no hit and run, no oppurtunity to go first to third or second to home on base hits. You get the idea.
Last year the Rays led the AL with a BB rate of 10.7%. This year we're at 6.9% tied for eleventh and but .1% away from thirteenth. Take a look at some of these BB%:
Johnny Damon 2.9
Kelly Shoppach 3.1
Felipe Lopez 3.5
Reid Brignac 4.4
Dan Johnson 4.8
John Jaso 5.0
Sam Fuld 5.3
Damon is a career 10% having gone above that in six of the last seven years
Also, stop blaming BABIP. As of this writing our BABIP is 275, T8 in AL. The Indians are first at 311.
How can we stop pitchers from doing this? One way is to actually swing at those strikes and hit them with authority, ie LD, not weak GB, pop ups or better yet in the case of most Rays hitters, not at all.