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.