OK, so Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey had a good game. Props to him. But why did Joe have the (big) gut feeling Dickey would flirt with a no-hitter tonight at the Fruitdome?

He damned near got one. Only a debatable Bossman single in the first inning kept the Rays from being hitless (again).

Look, Joe loves the Rays. But there are serious questions to be asked. One of which is how can the Rays be considered a top-notch organization when it only takes the injury to a star player for its offense to totally collapse? Another question is, what kind of seedy evidence does no-hitting instructor Derek Shelton have on the Rays’ brain trust?

Opposing pitchers must have a pool to help pay for Shelton’s salary. Seemingly any little hitch, injury or distraction appears to cause the Rays to flirt with being no-hit and Joe places that blame strictly at the feet of Shelton.

For the Rays to get the job done in October, with this offense, they will need superior pitching each night — which they are capable of getting. Right now, Joe’s not at all that confident that will happen.

Hopeful? Sure. Confident? Not really.

 
 

10 Comments

  1. Michael says:

    i think the pitching is fine

    i think not enough is made of how very apparently bad defense and very apparently bad offense can truly wreak havoc on a pitcher.. especially one like David who truly takes these losses personally and wants to pitch to the score

    i think the defense is truly bad in ways that no Sunsports infographic can express. The errors of course are obvious, but there’s more too it than that

    They aren’t really chasing after the balls in the gap, and when they do they miss. I’d swear it’s almost as if they’ve told Elliot to not attempt to make a risky dive for fear of injury

    I would also be VERY interested to see the numbers to double plays turned this year. It seems like it NEVER happens for us now, whereas last year they were good for one or two every single night. Are the shifts ruining this, or are they simply not making the throws?

  2. Justin says:

    It’s not just Shelton.

    Shelton was hired after the 2009 season, yet we’ve seen the Rays struggle with being no-hit and perfect game’d since before Shelton.

    Of the past four perfect games, two have been thrown against the Rays. One in 2009, and another in 2010. Hmm. Seems odd, no? Perfect games are very rare. And yet fifty percent of the perfect games thrown after 2004 are both at the Rays expense. Seems like a small sample size, but again, in extremely rare cases like perfect games, it’s all we have.

    Let’s look at no-hitters, which include perfect games. Of the past fourteen no-hitters, the Rays have been no-hit three times… no other team makes three (losing) appearances in the last fourteen no-hitters. You can see the trend here because the Rays, MORE OFTEN than ANY OTHER TEAM in the past five years is on the losing side of no-hitters.

    People will scream sample size issue, but I’m not sure. If anyone can supply a list of one, two and three hitter games I’d like to see if the Rays are represented more than any other team there as well.

    I think it’s Maddon, and not Shelton, but only due to the first perfect game against the Rays before Shelton showed up.

    • Justin says:

      Annnd, just like that, Matt Cain made me a liar.

    • Raysfan137 says:

      See BleacherReport.com for some interesting numbers on Shelton. We cannot keep saying it’s not his fault because we don’t have bats. That’s BS. His job is to make the most of what we have. He’s not doing it. Period.

  3. MarkE says:

    Not sure why anyone is surprised by the crapulance in the offense this season. This off season, the Rays did practically NOTHING to address their HUGE, ongoing downfall – offense.

    They picked up Luke Scott, a great move — but he sits the bench 50% of the games. They re-acquired K-los — big deal! All the K-los fans came out of the woodwork, claiming this is all the Rays need to spark a great offense this season. I have no idea why re-acquiring a .200 hitter with 180 strikeouts makes anyone excited. In my opinion, you’d better be hitting 40+ HRs if you’re going to K 180 times. Yeah, the walks are great, but how many times does he come to the plate when a base hit will score a run or two, then strike out swinging for the scoreboard with that ridiculous, never-changing uppercut? And his defense this season…?

    Front office and farm system are unmatched in acquiring and developing pitchers, but good God man, someone find a bat somewhere, NOW.

    • Raysfan137 says:

      Sorry, my reply above was meant more for this post than for Justin’s.

    • Hurricane says:

      Mark is absolutely correct. And it exposes Andrew as not being the great GM he is supposed to be. When Longo and Jennings went down, he had to make trades for two career minor leaguers to spark the offense. Most teams would reach into their farm system; However, since Andrew has focused primarily on drafting pitchers and not position players, his error became glaring. In addition, the hitters he did draft were primarily high school players, who take longer to develop. It was interesting to note that in this most recent draft, Andrew concentrated on college players and mainly college hitters. Geez, what took him so long??

      • Raysfan137 says:

        While what you say is true, it only underscores the importance of having a hitting coach who can get the most out of players. The numbers since Shelton arrived have not supported keeping him. If you say it’s not his fault that he doesn’t have great hitting talent, fine, I might accept that. But again, you’ll be underscoring the need to have a damn good hitting coach if we’re going to focus on pitching and defense in player acquisition. Funny thing is, over the last couple of years the arguments have been something like this: “It’s not the hitting coaches fault, these guys are pros. He doesn’t go out there and hit for them”. Now the arguments is: “It’s not the hitting coaches fault, these guys are under experienced and under talented hitters”.

        Simple fact is, the product that is the Rays is incomplete right now. Fans are frustrated, as is the team, I’m sure. Can’t go grab the top three hitters in the league to fix it. But management can make a statement that they aren’t happy with it either. And they can send Shelton packing for non-performance, whomever’s fault that may be. He just got a new contract, so I’m sure he’ll get a nice package to leave.

        Make a statement and take some action. If it doesn’t solve the problem, I can guarantee it won’t make it worse.

      • Raysfan137 says:

        While what you say is true, it only underscores the importance of having a hitting coach who can get the most out of players. The numbers since Shelton arrived have not supported keeping him. If you say it’s not his fault that he doesn’t have great hitting talent, fine, I might accept that. But again, you’ll be underscoring the need to have a damn good hitting coach if we’re going to focus on pitching and defense in player acquisition. Funny thing is, over the last couple of years the arguments have been something like this: “It’s not the hitting coach’s fault, these guys are pros. He doesn’t go out there and hit for them”. Now the arguments is: “It’s not the hitting coach’s fault, these guys are under experienced and under talented hitters”.

        Simple fact is, the product that is the Rays is incomplete right now. Fans are frustrated, as is the team, I’m sure. Can’t go grab the top three hitters in the league to fix it. But management can make a statement that they aren’t happy with it either. And they can send Shelton packing for non-performance, whomever’s fault that may be. He just got a new contract, so I’m sure he’ll get a nice package to leave.

        Make a statement and take some action. If it doesn’t solve the problem, I can guarantee it won’t make it worse.

  4. Gus says:

    Does Shelton get any credit for making Upton, Lobaton and S-Rod improved batters?

    They are better in 2012, after all (so was Longo, pre-injury).

    Most of these players are independent contractors, each looking out for themselves. If the Rays introduced a “Charley Lau” type approach throughout the organization to hitting, it wouldn’t fly. Shelton — or any batting coach — can help on the margins, tweak a guy in a slump, etc. But he’s not going to turn a below average hitter into Bryce Harper.

    Turn your frustration on management. They get lots of praise, but clearly don’t have the depth we need in the minors on offense to step in for injury like they can on the pitching side.

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