I can’t promise that I’ll be able to do this for every series, but I would like to provide a Pitch F/x review of each series. In the standings the Orioles took two out of three, but who won the series from a run values standpoint? Herein you will find what Rays pitchers threw and how successful it was and, also, what Rays batters were thrown and where they found success, if any. I hope to use this format all season, but am taking any and all suggestions to make this more intuitive or pleasing on the eyes. Keep in mind that this is evaluative. This is what happened, and you should make no assumptions that what has happened will continue to happen, particularly over an incredibly small sample such as this.
Here’s what each of the Rays pitchers threw depending on the handedness of the batter, though you’ll also find the overall totals, as well. Overall, the Rays were more fastball-heavy to lefties while going to the secondary stuff more against righties. I was surprised to see Roberto Hernandez go off his sinker/fastball so often. This will be something interesting to follow to see if it’s a flaw in the data or if he really throws the change over a quarter of the time. David Price’s splits are about what you would expect. He’s going to ride the lightning against lefties and go with whatever secondary pitch he has a better feel for on that day against righties. Days where the change and breaking ball are both solid are going to be a lot of fun to watch. Hellickson pitched the middle game and only win and it’s exciting to see him go the the change so often against same handers. On the other hand, R.J. Anderson has mentioned that Helly often goes to the change when he’s in fastball counts, something we’d like to see less of.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to see somewhat specialist relievers Ramos and Farnsworth throwing a lot of breaking balls to same-handed batters. New addition Jamey Wright has no problem throwing bendy stuff to same-handers and Jake McGee throws fastballs, duh. Let’s move on to the results using run values and run values per 100 pitches.
Green is good and red is bad. You’ll notice not a whole lot of green, particularly in the totals. Price pitched pretty well to lefties, but as we saw above he only threw 23% of his pitches to same-handers. Meanwhile, righties feasted on his fastball and change leading to a pretty poor overall performance. Hellickson’s change was effective against lefties and his fastball was pretty effective against righties. If the curveball had been a bit more effective perhaps his line would have looked a bit better. Nice to see him having success with the fastball. Hernandez pitched pretty well against righties and his fastball was showed effectiveness against southpaws which led to him being the only Rays starter to post a better-than-average overall run value.
Jake McGee. Wow. What happened, bro? Lefties ate his fastball for lunch, and righties were similarly not scared. Overall, he was the worst pitcher for the Rays this past series and it’s not even close. Farnsworth was effective in his very limited role, but even if he’s used as the Dan Wheeler, crush righties role the team has enough options to cover everything else, and at some point he’s going to earn Maddon’s trust back so that he can face tougher lefties. The rest of the guys range from bad to worse with back end stalwarts Rodney and Peralta letting the team down, but nice to see Ramos working out ok. He should probably mostly see lefties when it matters, but it’s nice to have him as a mop up option when the scores are gapped. On to the hitters.
Not much of a surprise when staring at the blanks here. Joyce and Loney didn’t see a lefty and Rodriguez didn’t face a righty. Pretty interesting is the catcher situation of Lobaton facing lefties and Molina seeing righties. It’s probably 90% that this is complete coincidence, but as the season unfolds perhaps this is something the front office has found that they will continue to roll with. Time will tell.
Word is out that BenZo likes him some ched on a Notorious B.I.G. scale. Righties refused to give him a heater and lefties didn’t up that all that much, though both pitchers threw him breaking stuff around a quarter of the time. Longo gave their righties fits so much that they threw him breaking balls as often as fastballs while, oddly enough, lefties gave him five out of six fastballs. Jennings is another guy that saw a lot of junk with righties giving him breaking balls and lefties feeding him change ups. A lot of respect for the young buck that has shown early glimpses of being a monster. Smart on their part to have their righties give Joyce a bunch of change ups as it’s kind of his weakness. Still, it was nice to see this when he did keyhole a fastball and got what he was looking for:
Again with the Run Values. Same story, green is good, red is bad. Zobrist was our best hitter in the series shellacking the heavy dose of righty junk he received while mashing lefty fastballs. If righties have to throw him more fastballs because he’s abusing their secondary stuff, then it’s going to be a very exciting year for @thezobrists. Desmond Jennings came in as the second best hitter for the Rays with his only weakness being the change up from lefties. He obliterated the southpaw fastball and had solid success against both the heater and the breaking ball from righties. Next best was Evan Longoria who struggled with the fastball from righties, while having very good success on their secondary stuff. For a hitter as good as Evan adjustments happen on the fly so when he starts seeing less fastballs he’s going to sit other stuff. That means he’s probably going to be a tad susceptible when he does see the less frequent fastball making him a touch slow. So you think hitting is easy? Still he had a nice series coming in above average against both righties and lefties.
Matt Joyce was next best based entirely on a marvelous bunt, and the aforementioned titanic home run. Dude can hit a righty fastball, it’s the other stuff, particularly the change, where he could use some improvement. On a tangent, but this is the kind of stuff that Wil Myers needs to be working on right now. Mashing a fastball is great, just ask Shelley Duncan, but if you have a hole in your swing pitchers are going to find it. Picking up and making the right decision on the change is the sign of a complete hitter, so let’s hope the next Rays stud is working exactly on that. The worst hitter in the series was Sam Fuld who struggled with everything thrown his way, though Jose Molina and Sean Rodriguez did their best to give Fuld a run for his money.
I hope you have found this informative and you’re already looking forward to the next iteration that I will probably get my inner bad dad on by completely leaving you waiting endlessly. One day at a time, kids.