Prior to tonight's game:
The Rays were third in wOBA.
Had a pretty high team BABIP in .321.
Owned a middle of the pack OBP and a high SLG.
Averaged higher than 5 runs per game.
Even so, it sure doesn't feel like it on some nights. Some more tidbits.
The team was second in infield flyballs hit (25%), and have hit more flyballs than any other team in the league. Eventually, that's going to regress. Teams simply do not go through an entire season hitting 50% flyballs. Heck, 40% qualifies as a high most seasons. Once the team starts hitting more grounders, you'll see more balls finding holes. The BABIP is actually pretty incredible when you realize that literally 50% of the balls in play are going in the air, and that homeruns do not count as "hits" when calculating BABIP.
Onto the bullpen.
Cormier fell on the sword and threw 55 pitches. That likely means he's not going to be pitching for a few days - with Kazmir, Shields, and Garza to go in this series, you have to expect the Rays won't need him. Cormier threw three pitches about an equal number of times; his cutter, slider, and curve - although it's important to note that the sliders are probably confused cutters; not that there's anything wrong with that. This is the closest Cormier has come to a high-leveraged outing this season and he did well enough that he should be considered for one in the future. If nothing else, he shouldn't be on the hot seat if/when there's a purge.
Remember that talk about regression we had concerning Grant Balfour and his swinging strikes and strikes in general? Well, tonight may have been step one towards that. 15 pitches, 9 strikes, that's 60%. Prior to the outing Balfour had thrown about 45% balls, he should be closer to 38%. As for swinging strikes, 6.1% on the season, and 27% (!!!) tonight.
Good start, now keep doing it.
I'm guessing this is the game that starts the attendance talk again as well.