Welcome to the Rays Tank, where the stats are made up and the jokes don't matter. Before we get to the Link Dump and the Banal Chatter, let's take a look at what happened on This Day in Baseball. Ladies, Gentlemen, and Rays fans, I give you: August 14th.
Our first stop lands us in the Trop in 2010 for a memorable Rays moment: The Shop Slam.
Kelly would homer a second time in the 8th, helping to lead the Rays to a 7-3 win over the Orioles. This one game would account for 40% of Shop's homer total and 30% of his RBI total for the season.
You know how you see some players, and you're like "How is he even in the league?" I'm talking about Jeff Francoeur, or course. Well, I'm here to tell you the reason you ask this question is that you just don't remember that once upon a time -- long ago, in a stadium far, far away -- he could actually play the game a little. Don't believe me? Here is Jeff Francoeur, circa 2005.
Poor Luis Gonzalez.
For our third stop, you get a double bonus classic ex-Ray moment. Watch Ray-for-five-minutes Russell Branyan hit a meaningless solo homer off the guy we sent to Cleveland to get Kelly Shoppach.
Probably a wash as far as trades go.
Look, I know what you're thinking: This Stank has been a pretty underwhelming so far, right? Well for #4, we've got something special for you. We present for your viewing pleasure, Bob Gibson's no-hitter, which happened on this day in 1971.
Now, clearly the play-by-play on this is reenacted, because I'm pretty sure that's Harry Kalas calling it and not Jack Buck, plus Harry keeps saying "no-hitter, no-hitter, no-hitter" which is not the kind of thing Harry did. Especially when it was only the seventh inning. But I couldn't find a free copy of Buck's iconic call where he has Gibson mopping his brow, and then Simmons roaring to the mound and everybody engulfing Gibson. So you'll have to settle for the sweet tones of a younger Harry Kalas, and this link to Bob Prince, the Pirates long time radio guy, calling it live on the radio. That's almost as good as Jack Buck, right?
Here's some other stuff that happened on August 14th.
- 1933: Jimmy Foxx hits for the cycle and drives in nine as the A's beat the Indians 11-5.
- 1958: Vic Power (now there's a baseball name) steals home twice in the same game. He ends up with only three steals on the season.
- 1969: The Mets drop into third place, 9 1/2 games behind the Cubs. LOLCubs.
- 1987: Mark McGuire hits his 39th home run of the season, setting a new rookie record. He finishes the year with 49.
- 1988: Detroit beats Boston 18-6, ending the Red Sox 24 game home winning streak. The streak is two wins shy of the major league record.
- More little league home runs. Part three, because I can't get enough. This one with a survey and questions about definition.
- Tony Blengino on fly ball/line drive park factors. The Trop may depress fly balls slightly, but it's really not all that interesting.
- Chris Teeter noticing the increasing domination of relievers -- throwing more innings than ever before, and throwing them better.
- Neil Paine of FiveThirtyEight with an overview of something MGL first did and that we talk about here all the time: analyzing pitching by Nash Equilibrium. Drew Smyly is on one of his lists, but I wouldn't get too hung up on it. I don't think the FanGraphs pitch values are a good tool to use for this. They're very volatile and results-based, which makes them not very useful for talking about pitches that are thrown infrequently. I'd rather see the wOBA coefficients stripped out of it, and weights just given to fly balls, line drives, and ground balls.
- Really neat work by Jared Cross on forcasting pitcher splits by pitch types and arm angle. The work on arm angle is particularly cool. A smattering of Rays and ex-Rays that show up on the extremes of the forecasted platoon splits: Jake Odorizzi, Jake McGee, Ronald Belisario, Preston Guillmet, Joel Peralta.