This has been a rough little stretch, as the Rays have lost four in a row and fallen 1.5 behind Oakland for the final wild card spot. It got worse yesterday when Matt Joyce left yesterday's game with a left forearm strain, and I still don't know anything about how much time he'll miss, though that would be a good thing to link to if I did. I do know that, according to Roger Mooney, Sean Rodriguez will not have surgery and will miss three weeks, and Jeff Niemann will pitch on Saturday.
- Messing with a player's swing to try and get him to go the other way against the shift can be a dangerous thing. Tango thinks players should learn to bunt instead, and thinks bunting against the shift is analogous to lining Tebow up as a punt blocker. I tend to agree. Why exactly has Carlos Pena stopped bunting?
- Usually, I don't care for the many suggestions on how to change the rules to improve baseball, but this set by Derek Ambrosino at The Hardball Times are pretty good.
- Fangraphs is going to start including fielding dependent pitching statistics. Major kudos to them for this. Debates between DIPS and and non-DIPS stats are made much better by easy, consistent access to both. I especially like that they'll be breaking down how much of the fielding dependent value comes from BABIP and how much comes from sequencing. Overview of what's being added here, and David Appleman talks about what it means here. There'll apparently be more fielding dependent explanation throughout the day, so keep checking back at Fangraphs.
- This is behind the pay wall, but Sam Miller at BP talks about how one might quantify hustle. He poses it as the difference in times from home to first base on an infield hit and times from home to first base on a routine grounder to third or shortstop. He calculates it himself for ten players, none of them Rays. Anyone with a stopwatch and mlb.tv feel like doing this for some of our guys?
- Lastly, Lapham's Quarterly has an overview of the history of superstition (h/t Chris Brown at Smart Football), that's a good read, and as applicable to baseball as it is anywhere.