The Rays have been no-hit or one-hit 5 times this season. In another game, CC Sabathia took a no-hitter into the 8th inning. Are the Rays just a streaky bunch that have unfortunately all hit the skids at the same time on several occasions? Or is there something deeper. Tim Marchman of SI.com took a closer look

Tampa Bay’s hitters are good, but they have a flaw: They are, essentially, a take-and-rake lineup. The team rates fifth in the American League in on-base percentage, but fourth from the bottom in batting average. They lead the league in both walks and strikeouts as a percentage of plate appearances, and are fourth-worst in both groundball-to-flyball ratio and line drive percentage. Basically they draw walks, hit for extra bases and otherwise beat the ball into he ground, which is essentially what you would be looking for in a team especially liable to being dominated on a given afternoon.

Have the Rays become too dependent on the walk? In the last 10 years,

baseball teams and fans have grown to recognize the importance of drawing walks and getting on base. But those walks are only good if somebody gets a basehit. And while the Rays have targeted a specific type of hitter, they may have added too many hitters with similar approaches at the plate.

Marchman goes on to suggest that the Rays don’t necessarily need a hitter like Adam Dunn. He adds that a player like Ichiro Suzuki would complement the Rays lineup much better.

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10 Comments

  1. Joe D. says:

    I think that this is why Vladis working out so well for Texas, he's not looking to walk and he doesn't strikeout. He puts the ball in play and helps move their guys over...

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  2. Bill says:

    Is it any coincidence that these occur during afternoon games?

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      Last year, I would have blamed it on not being prepared during day games. But this year (amazingly) they have a better winning percentage during day games (21-13, .618) than at night (46-31, .597).

      But yeah, when things go south during a day game, they are at their worst.

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  3. Rytor says:

    Thinking about the Rays lineup, I think we can put players into one of two categories - hitters (less walks, more hits) and takers (less hits, more walks)

    Hitters - Crawford, Rodriguez, Longoria, Bartlett, Aybar

    Takers - Zobrist, Jaso, Pena, Johnson, Joyce, Shoppach, Brignac, Upton

    Apologies if I missed anyone, and feel free to disagree with me with any classifications.

    But looking at the list, with men on base, which one of those hitters do you want to see at the plate? I see three names on that list (the first three)

    Any of the takers (besides Zobrist, and even he is a stretch in my eyes) with runners in scoring position, I'm not confident that a base hit is coming. And that's the problem with the Rays offense. The Rays can get them on, just not get them over.

    Edwin Jackson's "no-hitter" is an absolute perfect representation of the problem at hand.

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  4. Jessica says:

    This is a very interesting theory. I remember earlier in the season when the Rays played the Jays, the difference in their hitting approaches was so obvious that day. The Rays were sitting back and taking pitches, while the Jays were jumping on anything in the zone especially early in the count. I'm not saying that one approach is better than the other, but that day as the Rays were losing I was wishing they were more aggressive at the plate.

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  5. "But those walks are only good if somebody gets a basehit."

    Unless its 1990 and Andy Hawkins is pitching.

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  6. Gus says:

    The Rays take so many called third strikes. I bet if you drilled down on those stats, you'd see that they are the polar opposite of a bunch of Vlad Guerrero-type hackers. When you watch 10-pitch at bats from other teams where guys fight off the third strike, it stands in stark relief to the caught looking at bats that seem so maddening.

    Dan Johnson, it should be noted, seems to have value just because he can battle an at bat and definitely has a different approach with two strikes than the big league guys (based on only a week of observation).

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    • Joe D. says:

      Gotta give credit where it's due early in the week, I think it was the Hellickson game, Joyce saw 33 pitches and seemed to have a 2 strike approach, if memory serves me correctly on the longest of those ABs he came through with an RBI double...

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  7. Don says:

    I just want to take one(1) example of the "Rays approach" to hitting...
    (I don't know if its Sheldon's or Maddman or both)
    When Zo was trying to make the Rays he was just slapping the ball around, then all of a sudden he became this aggresive, hard swinging hitter(later we learned he had a private instructor)...result 27 hrs/.300ba
    NOW...he sits there, looking at strikes, "waiting for his pitch"...
    " The Rays approach to hitting" result Zo: 6hrs, .270ba. many strike outs! You figure it out!

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