Rays By The Numbers

I did not get to watch the game yesterday because I was out in the 105 heat index tailgating and watching college football so I can’t comment on the game although I did follow along on my phone with MLB At Bat. At one point, I thought the Rays were going to score more than my UCF Knights were going to score and it nearly happened too. Anyhow, here are some interesting number related to the Rays’ play of late:

  • The Rays have scored 61 runs in the first eight games of this road trip. Consider the fact they scored 122 runs in the entire month of May and 124 runs in the entire month of June and that is impressive.
  • It is even more impressive when you recall that Jon Lester, Brett Cecil, and Ricky Romero have pitched in this series, three lefties that have historically given the Rays fits. The Rays are now 33-16 in games that are started by left-handed pitching which is the best in baseball.
  • The Rays pitching staff has given up 54 runs on this road trip, which is nothing to write home about. They gave up 76 runs in the entire month of April and at this rate, the club could surpass that total by the end of next week. April was the only month this season in which the staff gave up less than 102 runs but they are on pace to give up more runs than any other month this season; August is the current high at 119 runs.
  • Ben Zobrist is finally hitting the ball with some authority again. He has a .607 slugging percentage in the month of September after slugging .356, .514, .341, .286, and .210 in the other months of this season. While he is hitting just .214 so far this month, he has one less walk than he does strikeouts and has hit three home runs in September. I have maintained all along he is one of the key bats the Rays must have come alive if they want to have a good chance to advance in the post-season.
  • We all know that B.J. Upton has continued to stay hot, but his .854 OPS is only the fifth highest on the club over the past 30 days for the regulars in the lineup. Carl Crawford leads the club with a .975 OPS followed by Evan Longoria’s .980, John Jaso’s .899, and Matt Joyce’s .897.
  • Evan Longoria has a .616 slugging percentage over the past month that includes nine doubles, one triple, and six home runs.
  • Both Longoria and Crawford are in the top five for American League Wins Above Replacement value according to Fangraphs.com.  Both deserve serious consideration in the MVP balloting but in all seriousness, everyone is batting for second place behind Josh Hamilton.
  • Pitcher A has thrown 33 innings and has 30 strikeouts and 12 walks and has given up 3 home runs. Pitcher B has thrown 34 innings and has 33 strikeouts and just 7 walks and 4 home runs. Pitcher A is David Price and Pitcher B is James Shields.
  • Who leads the Rays’ pitching staff in home runs surrendered over the past month? Nope, not Jeff Niemann. Nope, not James Shields. Lance Cormier – who has coughed up five home runs in just 16.1 innings pitched.
  • Despite having the best strikeout rate and best walk rate of the starting pitchers, Shields has the worst ERA at 5.29 over the past month. He can thank a .389 BABIP and a 62% LOB rate for that luck as his FIP sits at 3.30.
  • Fangraphs also uses a metric called O-Swing% which shows what percentage of pitches outside of the strike zone a batter swings at. Over the past month, the three best percentages on the team are Desmond Jennings (7%), Dan Johnson (18%) and John Jaso (20%). The worst – Reid Brignac at a whopping 51%.
  • John Jaso is the 10th best batter in the American League as far as making contact when he swings. He has swung and missed at just 3.7% of his pitches this season. On the Rays’ roster, the next best player is Ben Zobrist at 5.7% while the worst batter is Kelly Shoppach at 19.3%.
  • Baseball Prospectus says the Rays are going to win the East as it stands today and that Boston’s playoff chances are now just 1%. CoolStandings.com says the Red Sox are on life support as well.
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About Jason Collette

Writer/Analyst
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