7-23-2013 4-27-52 PMPlaying A Little Pepper

Wil Myers is back in the lineup tonight…A win tonight and the Rays will be along in first place for the first time this season…The Rays are 18-2 in their last 20 games. They are just the 10th team since 1994 to win at least 18 in a 20-game stretch. The other 9 all made the playoffs and 7 win their division…Matt Moore’s shutout last night was just the 66th by a lefty in Fenway’s 102-year history…The Rays have announced Star Wars night for Saturday, Sept. 21 against the Orioles. A special $35 tickets gets you a seat in the press level and a Jedi Ben Zobrist bobblehead

Game Graph

[Will be up at game time]

Source: FanGraphs


  1. Flash Jennings, CF
  2. Ben Zobrist, 2B
  3. Evan Longoria, 3B
  4. Wil Myers, RF
  5. Matt Joyce, DH
  6. Yunel Escobar, SS
  7. James Loney, 1B
  8. Jose Molina, C
  9. Sean Rodriguez, LF
  10. Roberto Hernandez, SP




  1. Gus says:

    I see Maddon the psychologist at work here with Joyce batting 5th v. the lefty. Joyce has fallen apart lately, but the Rays need his power down the stretch. They will need to score for Hernandez and are kind of due for a big offensive outburst.

    I really like moving Zobrist, Longo and Myers up a spot in the order to 2-3-4.

  2. Dave L says:

    Since I am the biggest Hernandez booster/apologist here I will go out on a giant limb right now before gametime. If he gets bombed tonite then I will take my lumps.

    Why is Roberto starting tonite and why did he make the team?

    Lets take a look at how things shaped up. I took the numbers from the AS Break but waited for Hernandez first start.

    There are 45 qualified starters in the AL right now as to innings pitched. That’s 45 guys who have made enough starts and remained in the rotation so as to accumulate at least 94 innings, which is the most recent cut off point. Wade Davis is the last one to make the cut at 94 innings at this point. We will get to him later.

    If you are looking at 15 teams with a 5-man rotation that’s 75 starters assuming every guy is healthy and never misses a start and each team has 5 guys they can depend on. Of course that never happens that’s why only 45 guys qualify at this point in the season, injuries are one thing but the fact is most teams are shuffling guys back and forth to triple and even sometimes AA to find someone who can complete a quality start as a #4 and #5.

    So there are an average of 3 pitchers per team which can be counted on as dependable starters. That’s important to be dependable and keep your bullpen fresh.

    Price and even Cobb (83 innings) don’t make the list due to injuries. That’s not my arbitrary cutoff but its how baseball rates it and it speaks to durability and dependability. Price does now after the break probably.

    So lets look at how Fausto stacks up amongst that group of 45.

    Not surprisingly he comes in near the bottom in many categories.

    #39 in ERA at 4.90

    #42 in WAR at Minus 0.5

    #2 in losses along with RA Dickey and just ahead of Joe Blanton with 12 already

    #32 in innings pitched in the AL which means he’s somewhere between a mediocre #3 starter and a decent #5

    Now lets look at some other categories.

    #8 in walks with only 25, lowest among Rays qualified starters, which limits base runners. Cobb also has 23 but with less innings so they are comparable

    #26 in WHIP 1.31, which is ok for a durable starter, which allows him to accumulate innings. You cant compare WHIPs or ERA’s of starters to relievers.

    #29 in Quality starts percentage (50%) 6 innings with 3 ER or less which is ok for a #3 starter

    #35 in Earned runs ahead of Helli (and with more innings pitched)

    And it certainly doesn’t help that he is

    #30 in run support last amongst Rays qualified starters (Helli is #2 which helps his W-L record even though most of his stats are comparable to RH) and Cobb gets nearly 1 run more per game than Fausto as well.

    So why did we bring in Hernandez? Veteran starter who can eat innings yes I said it and the numbers prove it #2 amongst Rays before the break

    Plus he provided depth

    Depth in case fragile Niemann breaks down and disappears
    Depth in case Cobb takes a frightening blast to the temple
    Depth in case the unthinkable happens and invincible Cy Young loses a month plus
    Depth in case Archer doesn’t put it all together until mid season
    Depth because the Rays don’t believe even perfectly healthy starters should make 32 starts so they are fresh in Sept and hopefully October. That’s why ever year even healthy starters make trips to the DL every year (see Cobb and DP 2012)

    And finally Depth because do you really think our injuries are done at the All Star Break?

    Plus we don’t have to baby him like ALL our other starters, because he has no future value, his future is now. If he continues to be durable and OK someone will throw more money at him next year than we would just like Kepp. And if we work him like a rented mule and he breaks down, well he’s bought and paid for this year and we got our moneys worth.

    So for everybody who wanted him cut outright early in the season, sent to the pen, or traded for a AA prospect-- here’s the verdict. The facts prove you were wrong. We needed him. And we continue to need him to start. The Rays always need 6 quality starters they can rotate in and out throughout the season not just 5 and at least one is always a young guy with options.

    I don’t think he will ever be great again like 2007 (I had hoped) and I stopped driving the Fausto can be a real good starter bandwagon earlier in the year. But I never stopped believing he should continue to start every 5th day until the staff got healthy, stronger and more seasoned and it ain’t gonna happen in 2013, most likely

    But I do hope I’m wrong, im not related to the man. He will definitely be in the pen IF we make the playoffs, Im not crazy

    By the way in case you were wondering poor Wade Davis is virtually last in every statistical category for qualified starting pitchers and killing his team with a whopping Minus 1.7 WAR. Most guys never get to those depths like he and hapless Kepp because they demote you before it gets that bad.

    When you trade for a guy and pay him teams will stick with him until he bleeds to death on the diamond.

    Please have mercy on his soul KC and put him in the pen where he can help you not kill you!


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