When Evan Longoria chose against throwing home and took the out at first he effectively changed the potential course of the inning. The original situation had runners on second and third with nobody out, as Kevin Kennedy mentioned (again, and again, and a dozen more times for effect) Longoria could have thrown to home and likely allowed both runners to advance an extra base in a rundown. This basically puts the Rays in the same situation with one out. He chose to give up and out for a run and prevent adding another baserunner. Did he make the right call?
- In the original situation you'd expect 2.1 runs to score. The play Longoria pursued resulted in a run expectancy of 0.73. If Longoria would've thrown home and gotten into a rundown without allowing either runner to advance a base the RE becomes 0.97, if both advance? 1.5. Odds are Longoria has never seen a RE matrix in his life, and if he has, he probably didn't know the exact figures. Still yet, he made the correct play, the smart play, the right play, and he never hesitated. The temptation of preventing a run from scoring is a strong one, but credit Longoria; he is an extremely intelligent defensive player and showed it tonight.
- Pat Burrell and Carlos Pena have homered in the same game twice now. I'm not going to type "If Pat gets going," anymore - except for then - but I hope that number doubles by September.
- I'll admit my expectations were set on a split entering this series. Thankfully my expectations were underrating this team's offense - funny how that works, eh? - and in a matter of two games we raised our playoff odds (Coolstandings version) from 29.7% to 36.3%. Each win was worth about 3.5%. Figure if we lose both our odds shoot down big time and this was a huge series to sweep, even if it was only two games.
- Jeff Bennett should probably be used only when the run margin is +/- 5 against AL East teams.
- Meanwhile Dan Wheeler pitched beautifully tonight.
- David Price had a very solid start. Yes, two home runs allowed, but five strikeouts and zero walks over 24 batters faced. Since I wrote that piece on how his walks would regress he's faced 121 batters, struck out 22 (18%) of them and walked 5 (4.1%). That's Chris Carpenter folks, one of the best pitchers in baseball.
- Now we head to Seattle. Don't sleep on them, we're heading into a park that limits right-handed power and facing one of the best defensive outfields in the majors. Odds are we won't score a ton of runs and even if we do their defense is going to force us to score them in interesting fashions. The good news is Jeff Niemann is the type of pitcher who should give Seattle fits with his two-seamer. Hopefully we can score against Felix Hernandez.