I don't know what to do with myself. Up in down. Down is up. The Rays are scoring runs. The past two games the offense has scored 19 runs against a good pitching team in Toronto. Yes, 19 runs. This is the same offense that has been seemingly struggling forever. Another unconventional lineup seemed to be the key for the outpouring of runs tonight.
The Rays packed their lineup full of right handed hitters against the right handed pitching Shaun Marcum. This may seem strange, but it's seemingly becoming a trend for the Rays when facing a pitcher with a very good changeup. Overloading the lineup with same hand batters has served to neutralize the normally effective pitch. It's a plan that looks to have been put in place after the Dallas Braden perfect game. In that game the soft tossing lefty had the rights predominately right handed lineup hacking at changeups in the dirt all afternoon.
I'm not sure who's idea it actually was. If I had to guess I'd assume it's a joint venture between the Baseball Ops department and Joe Maddon. I don't want to lend too much fact to this experiment since the sample sizes are so small, but thus far it has seemed to work. The right handed hitters in the Rays lineup went 9-15 off of Shawn Marcum, with a home run and two doubles while helping the team score seven runs. Left handed batters didn't fare as well, going 1-7 with Marcum on the mound. I don't know how long this experiment will be successful, but for tonight I'll take it and stop asking questions.
The offense doing so well was a welcomed sight considering how frustrating David Price was to watch on the evening. While the lefty picked up the win to improve his record to an AL best 9-2, actually upping his league best ERA(2.23) in the process, he was not particularly good on the evening. He managed to go six innings, but a lot of that was thanks to some fancy glove work flashed by Evan Longoria and others which cut innings short. Price only allowed one earned run on four hits, but walked five batters while striking out just four. He didn't seem to have much command for his fastball,registering only 60% strikes on the pitch. It was nearly the only pitch he threw. Of the 104 pitches he hurled on the night, 90 were fastballs. It was surprising that a team like Toronto, that has been taught to sit on the fastball and swing as hard as they can when they see one, wouldn't have more success against it tonight. It wasn't Price's best outing, but it certainly could have been much worse.
Some other thoughts:
-I can understand the theory behind stacking the lineup with right handed hitters. What I can't understand is why Ben Zobrist keeps getting stuffed in the 6th spot. He's one of the best hitters on the team and needs to be getting as many at bats a game as possible.
-Was I the only one who didn't think Dioner Navarro could still hit a home run against a right handed pitcher while batting right handed?
-As fun as Sean Rodriguez has been to watch this season, he still needs to work on some little things. His base running gaffe in the first inning cost the Rays an out. Outs are important, you know
-Hopefully Wade Davis can rebound from a couple of rough outings and keep the winning ways going.