The Rays are limping towards the season’s end and improving their draft pick in the process. The Rays are currently tied with the Diamondbacks for the second pick, but could end up as low as seventh. The optimal outcome for the Rays would be to lose their final three games to the Rangers and suffer no major injuries that can bleed into next season. The games matter for the Rangers as they would like to maintain their hold on home field advantage.
Friday: Matt Andriese vs Yu Darvish
Saturday: Jake Odorizzi vs Colby Lewis
Sunday: Chase Whitley vs Martin Perez
Yu Darvish has had a successful return from Tommy John Surgery.
After missing the entire 2015 season Yu Darvish has made 16 successful starts. Darvish has a 3.53 ERA and 3.30 FIP with peripherals that are in line with what he has done since coming to the states. He’s striking out 30.6% of batters and walking a career best 7.7% of batters faced. In his last four starts he’s had his two worst (7 runs in 5 IP and 5 runs in 4 IP) along with two dominant outings (1 run in 13.2 IP).
Colby Lewis started the season with a string of good results in his first 14 starts. He posted a 2.81 ERA and 4.22 FIP. His last four starts have been significantly worse with a 10.06 ERA and 7.91 FIP. His last start was the worst of the bunch as he allowed seven runs over 1.1 innings. Lewis combines a low strikeout rate (15.7%) and limits walks (6.1%).
Left handed pitcher Martin Perez will take the mound in the finale. Perez has posted a 4.37 ERA and 4.52 FIP over 195.2 innings. Perez has the lowest strikeout rate among qualified starters at 12.1%. His 9.0% walk rate doesn’t lend him any favors, but he has limited homers with a 10.5% HR/FB rate. Left handed batters have found little success this season with a .177/.272/.278 line and .249 wOBA against Perez.
The Rangers relievers perform at extremes.
The overall line for the bullpen isn’t good as they have the sixth highest ERA at 4.46 and fifth highest FIP at 4.42. However the Rangers bullpen has put up the seventh best WPA at 3.96. Their five relievers that have surpassed 50 IP have 3.29 ERAs.
Sam Dyson became the closer after the incumbent Shawn Tolleson had a rough start to the season. Tolleson has a 7.68 ERA and 5.24 FIP, but Dyson stepped in and has converted 36 saves with a 2.47 ERA and 3.65 FIP.
Former Rays reclamation project Matt Bush (2.52 ERA/2.73 FIP), as well as Tony Barnette (2.11 ERA/3.33 FIP), Alex Claudio (2.82 ERA/3.01 FIP), and Jake Diekman (3.29 ERA/3.53 FIP) have been doing the heavy lifting.
The Rangers upgraded their offense at the deadline.
Instead of upgrading their rotation the Rangers upgraded their offense by adding Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Beltran. Lucroy has been a big upgrade at catcher with the bat as he’s hit .274/.346/.527 and 129 wRC+ with ten homers in 162 PA. Beltran hasn’t been great, but he’s better than what the Rangers were getting out of their DH before Prince Fielder’s retirement.
Adrian Beltre continues to be productive in his late 30s with a .298/.356/.520 and 129 wRC+ with 32 homers.
Carlos Gomez has been on fire since being released by the Astros. In 124 PA with the Rangers he has put up a .291/.371/.564 line and 147 wRC+ with eight homers.
The season comes to a close.
Overall the season has been a disappointment, but there have been some bright spots with Evan Longoria’s offensive resurrection and Brad Miller’s breakout. Logan Forsythe continues to build on his 2015 success. Alex Colome has been a standout in the bullpen after a successful transition to relief last season.
The most important thing these last three days is for everybody to stay healthy and not suffer a major injury that can put the Rays behind to start 2017.