Rays Diary  6/17/13


Wish Rays management and coaches would spend time watching “film” instead of diddling with computers.  DVR’d almost every game, been doing it for years.  Watched every pitcher closely so far this year.  Tweeted David Price numerous times over the past few years as well as this season.  Didn’t listen.  Used to throw “sidearm” only from the stretch, not the windup, resulting in average against him .100 pts higher with men on base.  Last year threw even more sidearm from windup, this year 100% sidearm.  Wasn’t using his legs and body at all, injured his triceps by trying to throw so hard without his legs and body.  Needs to throw the ball more overhand like he used to ala pitchers Seaver and Ryan under coach Rube Walker.  Ask Joe Magrane:  Fingers need to be on top of the ball, producing a downward flight of the ball.

Frustrating- watched Wade Davis, very shaky first few innings, then finally started throwing overhand instead of sidearm.  What a difference!  Same thing happened last year, improved after tweets about it.  It’s the same problem bugging  Matt Moore and even poor Alex Cobb.  Less control, less speed and way less effectiveness when they “drop down!”  Watch the “films” like coaches did in the old days, Mr. Hickey.



Rays Diary  6/18/13

Two sad, sad “told you so” game days in a row...  Jonny Gomes victimizes the split finger throwing Peralta by moving up in the batter’s box.  It’s also a great way to nullify the effectiveness of the slider as it tries to sweep beyond the hitter’s reach, especially on a two strike count.  Can’t even count the number of times I’ve written to the Rays suggesting especially for guys like Longoria to step up in the box with two strikes so that they could hit the upcoming slider (the one that is as sure to come as death and taxes).  Alas, it is something their pseudo hitting coach, Peter Principle and his inscrutable boss, Joe Maddon do not believe in.  Apparently, Evan and his fellow “heroic hitters” are afraid they will be hit by the baseball. 

As for the pseudo baseball reporters in the Tampa Bay Area, keep asking your inane questions, but never, never ask Joe or batting coach Peter Principle if the team’s poor performance is their fault.  The other day, a Little League coach or manager would have reminded his hitter to “take a pitch or two, to make the pitcher throw strikes” with bases loaded and no outs!  To make matters worse, when the dynamic duo forgot to tell this to their over eager hitter, he proceeded to swing at two breaking balls in the dirt for an “0” and two count.  To make matters even worse, they also forgot to tell him not to try to pull the upcoming slider on the outside of the plate (as sure as death and taxes) to the left side of the infield for a double play!  To make matters even worse, believe it or not, it’s also the umpteenth time they’ve done this and the umpteenth time I’ve written them about it!

You see, according to all but a few outspoken sports people like “ The Big Dog,” for instance, everyone seems to agree that the reason the team fell short of the playoffs last year was simply due to injuries.  According to these “authorities,” it had nothing to do with the fifteen or so games that were lost because in a 100% obvious bunting situation Rays “Brain Trust” decided to “hit away” instead, citing their “philosophy” of “not giving up an out for a base.”  Unfortunately, in the vast majority of these losses, the other team did bunt leading directly, believe it or not, to their victory!  Praying for Elliot Johnson, Sean Rodriguez, Desmond Jennings or Eleanor Roosevelt to hit a homerun just didn’t seem to help as much as a silly thing like trying to simply “advance the runner.”

Let me explain something to Joe and Derek.  It’s called “do the math” and it’s even confirmed by their beloved “cybermetrics.”  With a man on first in the ninth inning and no outs the score is tied (an all too common situation for the Rays).  Assuming that the vast majority of hits will be singles, how many base hits is it likely to take to score the man from first?  The answer: TWO.  If the runner is bunted to second or advanced in any way, now how many base hits will likely score the runner?  The answer: ONE.  What are the chances of one of the next two batters getting a base hit?  Given the team batting average of about .250 or 25%, 25% plus 25%= 50%.  What are the chances of the same two hitters each getting a base hit?  Answer: 25% times 25%= 6.25%.  What, you ask, are the chances of two of the next three hitters will get base hits needed to score the runner from first?  No more than 18.75%.  Joe, Derek, Andrew, you think maybe your so-called “philosophy” of continuously disdaining “Baseball 101” may be backfiring as our pitching staffs start coming back to earth?

Like everyone else, even his critics, I love Joe Maddon, but sooner or later he will have to manage with the skills he has, but psychologically hates to use.  Managing with a Ouija board is no substitute for learning how to build a logical lineup based on developing individual skills versus being slaves to previous statistics or advancing runners nor can it replace watching films of how our pitchers threw when they were more successful.  By the way, I ask again, regarding Rays “philosophy,” what teams did Aristotle and Plato coach, anyway?????

Al Finkelstein,  6/18/13