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Tampa Bay Rays Get Swept in Anaheim

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  • For all the talk about the Angels playing "Angels baseball", they hit two homers today and four on Monday. That's an average of two home runs per game. Entering today the Angels had 125 home runs in 111 games, or 1.13 per. That's more than the Cubs, Brewers, Indians, and Cardinals; two less than the Diamondbacks, three less than the Rockies, 11 less than the Red and White Sox. In other words: manufacturing runs through the small ball? Yeah, don't think they aren't capable of launching bleacher treats.  
  • The Angels represent an awful matchup for the Rays. Especially when it comes to playing pen/batter match-ups with a bullpen heavily composed of specialists. Two LOOGY, a few righties you'd rather not have against lefties, and the combination of J.P. Howell and Grant Balfour. That's the pen. In a one run game, Randy Choate entered to face Chone Figgins, Erick Aybar, and Bobby Abreu. Two switch hitters and a lefty. Choate is of course a lefty. Over the last three years, Figgins has hit lefties poorly (.693 OPS) while Aybar has fared better against lefties, although still not great (.696 OPS). Meanwhile Abreu is pretty good against everyone. So you take whatever advantages you can get and hope it works out. It didn't. Vladimir Guerrero comes up with two on and first open and the Rays issue him a free pass. Then Kendry Morales, another switch-hitter, comes up and he's struggled against lefties too. He engages Choate an in epic at-bat and eventually wins and ... good gravy what in the heck do the Rays have to do to catch a break here.
  • What's funny - and I mean this in the ironic sense rather than the humorous sense - is during the prolonged seventh inning at-bat, I kept expecting a grand slam. Such an event would've pushed the score to 9-4 and made me groan in terror. Naturally, the Angels found a way to score five runs that inning without a grand slam. Sigh.
  • Gabe Kapler hitting against a righty with reverse splits didn't work so well. Reason #212 as to why two LOOGY are a waste of time: Joe Maddon couldn't pinch hit with Willy Aybar then flip B.J. into centerfield without basically dumping the bench. Come on guys, you get next to nothing wrong, and I love that you try and squeeze value from every single player in the organization, but one of these two lefties has to go.
  • Random thought during the game: be glad Troy Percival hasn't retired yet. No really. Him being on the 60-day disabled list means someone like ... say Wade Davis can be placed on the playoff roster even if he doesn't come up until September.
  • Jeff Bennett's territory = +/- 5 runs.
  • The two series prior to the west coast roadie saw our playoff odds jump from 30.4% to 36.6%. In Seattle our odds went up to 39% thanks to the Yankees. After our bombing in Anaheim, we're down to 24.4%, the lowest since early May. Still undead, still need help, and now we probably won't have a Boston losing streak of quite that magnitude backing us up.
  • Another random thought: assuming the Tampa BBWAA keeps the same rubric, who would be the team MVP based solely on win percentage in games started? Well, I did the math for everyone with at least 100 starts (and Ben Zobrist) and here's what we get:

 

Player GS W GS L Win%
Upton 56 47 0.544
Pena 58 49 0.542
Crawford 59 50 0.541
Bartlett 49 42 0.538
Longoria 55 49 0.529
Zobrist 45 43 0.511

 

  • Congratulations B.J.! I hope you have room on your mantle for that trophy.

Nope, I can't wait for people to take that analysis seriously either.