The Rays Tank: A win, and a look historically at 4-9 starts

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

The Rays notched another W at long last, therefore igniting hope in the hearts of all fans…or something like that.

I'd forgotten what a win, and reaching double digits in hits (11), felt like.

A breath of fresh air in a dismal week of Rays baseball, the team beat the Orioles 6-2 last night, showing a burst of offense, giving Joe Maddon his first ejection of the year and bringing Matt Moore's win total to three.

As mentioned, the Rays had 11 hits, with two home runs and seven of the nine starters reaching base; with four hits occurring with runners in scoring position. Capitalizing with runners on base -- a beautiful thing.

Maddon was ejected in the fifth inning after arguing a caught-stealing double play call on Kelly Johnson. Upon replay the call looked to be correct, but Maddon took this opportunity to vouch his opinion on the lousy calls the Rays have been on the receiving end of recently, resulting in his ejection.

Moore had another dominant start, going six-and-two-thirds with seven strikeouts, three walks, and five hits. His ERA notched it's first numbers of the season, with two earned runs in the third via a two-run homer from Adam Jones.

Catch the full postgame recap here.

The Rays wrap up the series in Baltimore tonight at 7:05 p.m. ET as David Price attempts to secure his first win of 2013, and the team tries for back-to-back wins for only the second time this season. Price is 3-0 with a 2.54 ERA in six career starts at Camden Yards, with current Orioles hitting .230 with a .602 OPS against him in 192 plate appearances.

***

With last night's win, the Rays are now 5-9. Prior to the W, their 4-9 record matched their worst start to a season in franchise history.

Via prompting from @sternfan10, DRaysBays' own Robbie Knopf took a look over on Rays Colored Glasses at teams that had a 4-9 or worse start, yet still reached 90+ wins.

Here's what he found:

  • The 2011 Red Sox, who started 3-10, finished with 90 wins
  • Off by one win, the 2012 Angels and the 2010 Red Sox also started 4-9 and finished with 89 wins
  • Thirteen teams that started 4-9 or worse went on to win 90 games, with the most notable being:
  • The 1951 Giants, who made the World Series thanks to the Shot Heard ‘Round the World
  • The 1935 Tigers, the 1979 Pirates, and the 1991 Twins, all of whom went on to win the World Series
  • Eight of the 13 and seven of the 10 who started 4-9 finished in the top four in their league in ERA
  • The 1976 Dodgers finished second in the NL in ERA, and finished just 8th out of 12 NL teams in OPS

Robbie then took a look at the final record of all teams who started 4-9, taking into consideration that a 4-9 start is a .308 winning percentage, and that some of these teams were actually just terrible. He found that the mean winning percentage of the 174 teams in MLB history since 1903 who have started 4-9 is .453, a 73-win pace over 162 games. Of the 174 teams, just 47 (27%) finished at .500 or above. Just 15 (8.6%) won 90+ games.

That being said, it doesn't sound too great for the Rays. With a 4-9 start, a .308 winning percentage, that's a 112-loss pace. Now, our faith may be shaken after these first two weeks, but the Rays are a much better team than 112 losses. We'll just have see what 4-9 means after 162 to this year's Rays, and as always, YCPB.

While you were sleeping: The Tigers and the Mariners played for four hours and 27 minutes, tied 1-1 until a Tigers run scored in the top of the 9th, plus a game-ending Justin-Smoak-down of Brayan Pena at the plate in the bottom of the 9th, were enough for a Tigers W. A whopping 40+ strikeouts were recorded, and Victor Martinez was the only starter without a strikeout.

Links:

- Tigers/Mariners went into extras due to some crazy dominant pitching: Felix Hernandez and Max Scherzer each struck out 12, the first time both starters in a game have struck out a dozen or more batters in a decade. They weren't the only ones throwing K's on Wednesday...

- Zack Greinke thought Carlos Quentin's eight-game suspension was fair, as it was the maximum ever given by the MLB for a batter charging the mound.

- Derek Jeter is keeping a diary while on the DL. You didn't know? Catch up with the Captain.

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