Rays diary 4/24/13

Last night the Rays returned to last year’s form.  Except for Ben Zobrist’s sac fly, the team squandered their opportunities trying for the elusive “big inning.”  Yes, they’ll win a few games that way, but so far the only games they seem to win are with homeruns.  Good luck Joe, heading up the second division.  Meanwhile, batters went back to the Peter Principle/Joe Madden philosophy of trying for a homerun on almost every swing, in actuality, looking pretty good on multiple drives to the warning track.  Aggressively starting your swing with your hands is a good way to screw up your batting average all of you new guys on the team.  One question, Coach Shelton and Big Brother Joe: Is that the way you both hit so horribly in your playing days or did someone teach you this in Greek Philosophy class?  By the way, Joe, what teams did your baseball authorities, Aristotle and Plato coach?

Meanwhile, as much as I respect Jim Hickey and David Price why are they not carefully watching the replays of David’s games as I do?  Yesterday, after pitching so well for most of the game, in the eighth inning, Mr. Price began to repeatedly feature the only serious weakness in his pitching repertoire, the dreaded “sidearm delivery.”  In the past, he tended to drop down slightly toward first base on his delivery only when throwing from the stretch.  As a result, his “average against” was usually under .200 from the windup, but nearly .300 with men on base.  He cleaned that up significantly last year after a shaky start and pretty much avoided throwing more than one or two pitches in a row from “first base.”  Yesterday I watched him in the eighth inning throw a ground out to Stewart on an apparent sidearm change-up.  He followed with three straight sidearm pitches to Ichiro, the third a cutter which “stayed up” allowing Suzuki to easily single through the hole in the infield.  His sidearm cutter to Nix also “stayed up,” allowing him to easily single to left as well.  With men on first and third, all Gardner had to do next was to pull the sidearm fastball, which also “stayed up,” to the right side of the infield to tie the game.

In the ninth inning, after making Cano look awkward on a few pitches, the same sidearm fast ball or cutter that Ichiro had hit, “stayed up” for The Yankees’ smiling second baseman and he just as easily hit the ball to the opposite field. This unfortunately ended the night for David Price who deserved a better fate, but can only blame himself for throwing one god- forsaken sidearm pitch after another to a well managed Yankee lineup, simply trying for base hits.  You see, unlike his natural three quarter overhand pitch which moves downward, the sidearm pitch moves only left to right.  It ends up at whatever height it starts out at and eventually almost anyone can hit it as Mr. Price has found out, but refuses to admit.  Mr. Hickey, the same thing applies to Matt Moore  Wade Davis and poor Scott Kasmir whose career was almost ruined by Mike Butcher.

Looking back, of course, it’s hard to believe that no Rays hitter is able to hit the ball to the right side with one out and a man on third to score a scratch run.  Sorry, but i have to say it: Only a fool would throw away scratch runs and keep praying, instead, for the ”big inning” in game after game when he has the best pitching staff in the league, maybe in all of baseball. 

Al Finkelstein,  4/24/13