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Do the Rays or the Yankees buzz more hitters?

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We built a tool to visualize that, and any other questions you might have about the AL East hullabaloo.

Sauron has been known to let his fastball slip high and tight.

The long-simmering tensions between the Rays and the Yankees boiled over yesterday into intentionally one hit Rays batter, three Rays batters ducking out of the way of Aroldis Chapman fastballs, a lot of shouting on the field after the game, a very angry manager, a smattering of suspensions, and then a deluge of Twitter arguments.

JT Morgan broke the sequence down, and also traced the roots of the feud. Depending on who you ask, it’s a 2020 thing, or it started back in 2018, or maybe it started back in 2017.

One thing that’s certain, there is renewed interest in the history of Yankees-Rays hit by pitches, and in who has pitched inside, and up-and-in, and how often.

So we made a tool to help you answer these important questions. Click the link if you don’t see it below, or maybe even if you do. This runs best in Chrome, on a desktop. But it’ll run other places too.

The tool is full of data, but most importantly, easy to use. When you first open it up, it shows every data point selected, highlighting every pitch thrown by both the Rays and Yankees against each other since 2017.

To adjust the filters, there are dropdown tabs to the right of the tool on desktop and above the tool on mobile. You can adjust parameters ranging from pitching team, batter handedness, game date, pitch result, pitch type, and gameday zone, to bring up a graph of exactly what it is that you want to focus on.

Want to see how many times the Yankees have hit the Rays since 2017? Set “Team Pitching” to only have the Yankees checked and check only “Hit by Pitch” in the “Pitch Result” dropdown.

Yankee pitchers hitting Rays, 2017-2020

Do you want to compare how often each team has thrown fastballs up and in to left-handed batters? Choose your pitch types, select “L” for batter handedness, and then choose zone 12.

Here’s New York:

NYY up-and-in to Rays LHB

And here’s TB:

TB up-and-in to LHB

While the tool is capable of getting quite specific, we’ve highlighted some key numbers that are likely to be searched for the most. Beginning with batters hit by pitches, since 2017 both teams have each had 22 hitters plunked by the opposition. Since 2018, the Rays have had 19 batters hit while the Yankees have had 14. Between this year and last, ten Rays have been hit compared to eight Yankees, while just this season, five Rays have been hit by Yankee pitchers while three Yankees have been hit by Rays pitchers.

The next set of numbers that are likely to be looked up are pitches thrown high and inside. It takes a couple steps to get that in the viz, since you need to pay attention to both location and batter handedness, so we’ve done the work for you.

Here are the totals of how many Rays and Yankees have experienced uncomfortable pitches since 2017.

So yeah, the Rays have gone up and in a little more often than the Yankees, but not by much. Both teams do it, because that’s how good pitching works. Despite their having gone inside more, the Rays have hit fewer Yankees than the other way round.

This viz doesn’t have a filter for “moral” and “immoral,” so we’ll trust you to figure that part out on your own.