With Erik Bedard pitching, there's a way we all expect the Rays to lose. He'll walk a few too many men, give up some hits, last four innings, and before you know it the tired bullpen has helped him give up seven runs. That's the usual way to lose. Yesterday, the Rays lost 3-2 two, despite only giving up one hit. Did you find it refreshing?
Today's game, May 22, 4:15 PM, marks the start of the comeback, because Alex Cobb will pitch for the Rays after returning from an oblique strain. Unfortunately, you can't watch (unless you're going to it), because there's no television. Break out your radios; we'll have video of some sort from the Rays after the game.
Alex Cobb has perspective on the situation, and won't try to do more than he can (pitch well every five days), writes Marc Topkin.
Despite the fantastic start of his career, it's back to the minors for Kevin Kiermaier:
Also, #Rays optioned Kiermaier back to Durham after game; they had to make room on roster for Cobb— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) May 22, 2014
That's okay. It's a crowded outfield that the Rays have. Better to get him every-day playing opportunities. Kiermair's time will come.
Bull City Summer, a book about the Durham Bulls' 2013 season, is now available. I've just ordered mine, and we'll have a review as soon as I'm able to read it (I'm a slow reader, sorry).
At Dock of the Rays, Jason Hanselman continues his excellent work comparing production to the reasonable expectation. He refreshes the charts for hitters, and adds a similar set of comparisons for pitchers. It's a pretty amazing execution of something no one else on the web is doing. If you haven't clicked over to look at this series of articles from Jason, what are you waiting for? Now's the time.
From Dave Cameron, Ben Zobrist is seemingly in decline, and is no longer the league's most underrated player. That title now goes to Brian Dozier.
Jeff Sullivan looks at the other side of pitch framing: the pitcher. Which pitchers have received the most favorable zone? Interestingly, despite their focus on framing from the catcher spot, and their universally lauded tandem of Jose Molina and Ryan Hanigan, no Rays pitcher shows up on the top-10 lists, except for Erik Bedard, who's actually received a less favorable zone this year than he did last year. The salient question, which I don't have a great answer to, is how much credit from a well-framed pitch should go to the catcher, and how much should go to the pitcher?
Jonah Keri published a good article about the Cardinals' pitching process, over on Grantland. It doesn't reference the Rays, but it'll make you think about how pitching works. I'll try and work up some Rays comparison graphs later today.