This post, which will appear before every game, will include starting lineups (when we learn them) and during the game will include a Game Graph that will constantly update the percent chance the Rays have of winning this particular game.

Playing A Little Pepper

The Rays have now been on the short-end of 13.0% of the perfect games in baseball history and 21.4% of the no-hitters since Derek Shelton became the hitting coach following the 2009 season. How much blame does he deserve?

I think Raysfan137 said it best in the comments: “It’s not Shelton’s fault. But he’s not doing a damn thing to improve things.” It’s a great point. What hitters this season have shown any improvement? In fact, every non-rookie on the team has an OPS this season lower than their career average except for Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce. Everybody else is down. And some (e.g. Carlos Pena) are down a lot. Coincidence? An entire roster of bad luck? In Shelton’s defense, we have seen players in the past have career years (e.g. Casey Kotchman in 2011). But those seem few and far between. And we have seen far more players underperform. At some point, the hitting coach either does something or he doesn’t. And if it is not Shelton’s responsibility to make hitters better, or at least keep the majority of them from getting worse, then why have a hitting coach at all?…MORE THAN HE IS GETTING

Game Graph

[Will be up at game time]

Source: FanGraphs

Lineup…

  1. Flash Jennings, LF
  2. BJ Upton, CF
  3. Matt Joyce, RF
  4. Evan Longoria, DH
  5. Ben Zobrist, SS
  6. Jeff Keppinger, 3B
  7. Carlos Pena, 1B
  8. Ryan Roberts, 2B
  9. Jose Molina, C
  10. David Price, SP

Song to get you pumped up

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2 Comments

  1. Raysfan137 says:

    I’m honored to be mentioned in this. But thanks for setting me straight. I have tended ignore the outliers like Kotchman, even though I was big fan when he was here and have his game worn playoff jersey at home. I think he and Kep show that approach at the plate is one of the biggest components of hitting success, and that it needs adjustments by individual, opponent, park, situation, weather, and lots of other variables in order for a team to have overall success. My personal opinion is that Shelton lacks the strategy and mind for those kinds of adjustments. He might be a great swing mechanics guy, which others keep arguing can’t be adjusted at this level. But we still see so much evidence for bad plate approaches and bad pitch recognition. In my very limited baseball experience, I found a good plate approach can help make up for bad pitch recognition (gets you into better odds if you do have to guess at pitches). I see no evidence of that type of strategy at a team level being employed by the Rays, and instead see evidence for the opposite in each game (easiest to recognize is checked swings in hitters’ counts and on first pitches as proof they weren’t sitting on anything or weren’t using the count to guess and swing away).

  2. Jason says:

    As bad as the Rays were prior to 2008, I believe they never had a no hitter or perfect pitched against them. Since 2009 they have had several not the mention 3 perfect games! It has to be Shelton and his philosophy. No one has improved at the plate, and he’s got to be the fall guy here there’s just no other way around it. Every year there are multiple games where it starts getting late in the game and the Rays still don’t have a hit and I’m like oh no here we go again.

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