The Tampa Bay Rays had a 5-1 record on their recent home stand, and take their show on the road to play the White Sox in Chicago. The Rays did it with timely hitting and pitching, to the tune of only nine runs allowed over the six-game stretch. It’s hard to lose when you don’t give up any runs. The Rays got a combo-job shutout on Saturday, as Jeremy Hellickson started and got the win over Oakland, with relief help, 1-0. Alex Cobb started yesterday and picked up the “W” with Fernando Rodney earning the save in another shutout, topping the Yankees 3-0. Aside from the great home stand, the Rays managed to keep it loose, as well.
Yunel Escobar won’t be in the lineup tonight after experiencing tightness in his hamstring. Ben Zobrist will put on his infield glove and take over at shortstop until Escobar is back. Good news: Zobrist can fill in more than adequately. Bad news? Escobar was six for his last twenty-one at bats, and has been playing stellar defense.
- Cobb threw only 106 pitches in 8.1 innings. Seventy-two went for strikes. Cobb featured a sharp breaking ball, and commanded both sides of the plate. Lately, “both sides of the plate” has been the mantra for Rays pitchers, and it has served them well.
- James Loney’s batting average is up to .313, hitting .455 over the last ten games.
When I got home this afternoon, Ken “Hawk” Harrelson was battling with Brian Kenney on the MLB network over the use of statistical data in predicting winners in baseball. Hawk doesn’t go much for metrics, except for the TWTW numbers. As in “The Will To Win.” Kenney, of course tried to pin him down on his disdain for numbers. The subject of this weekend’s series came up, and Kenney stated that the Rays’ success came from metrics.
In fact, both are right. Tampa Bay surely knows how to something out of very little when spending their money. That doesn’t always translate to numbers, however. The way they play the game indicates they also had TWTW. The Tampa Bay Rays: a Harrelson/Kenney conundrum.