USATSI_8050683_154511044_lowresThe GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

Cleveland 7, RAYS 2 (boxscore)

The Rays finish their season at 77-85 in 4th place in the AL East, 11 games behind the Orioles and 6 games ahead of the Red Sox for last place. The Rays also finished 11 games back in the Wild Card.

If there is any consolation, both the Red Sox and Yankees also missed the playoffs and the Red Sox actually went worst-to-World Series champs-to-worst again in a 3-year span. I am guessing that has never been done before

Random Notes on the 2014 Rays: Evan Longoria played in all 162 games for the first time in his career and is 1 of just 4 players to do it this season in MLB. Longoria has also played in 241 straight games, second only to Hunter Pence (383) among active players…The Rays were the first team since 2011 to finish with a losing record overall and a winning record on the road…The Rays pitchers broke the record for strikeouts in a season (1,437), but didn’t even lead the American League as Cleveland pitchers finished with 1,450…The Rays scored just 612 runs this season, the worst mark in franchise history, 8 fewer than the 1998 Devil Rays…The Rays stole 63 bases this season, the fewest in franchise history. In 2009, the Rays stole 194. For better or worse, this is almost certainly by design as the Rays apparently feel that stolen bases are no longer worth the risk…The Rays turned just 96 double-plays this season, the fewest ever by a team since MLB went to a 162-game schedule. Like the stolen bases, this is most likely by design as the Rays have become more of a flyball pitching team.

THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Ben Zobrist and Joel Peralta both said they hope to remain with the Rays in 2015. [TampaBay.com]
  • Joe Maddon is not expecting any changes to the coaching staff. This is more about Derek Shelton and less about Dave Martinez who is a strong candidate to be the next Astros manager. [TampaBay.com]
  • Hillsborough county commissioner Ken Hagan is so optimistic that there will be a breakthrough in the Rays’ negotiations with St. Pete that he is prepping his fellow board members to be ready to deal with the Rays. St. Pete mayor Rick Kriseman called the move “premature” and even “problematic.” [TBO.com]
  • When Jeff Vinik was asked about the possibility of building a stadium for the Rays in downtown Tampa, he did a pretty nice Tampa 2-step. I am not even sure we can call this a non-denial, denial. It was more like “I’m going to say a lot of words and hope you don’t notice that I didn’t answer your question.” [SotS]
  • We don’t have the final ratings numbers for the Rays yet, but they did finish the season as the top-ranked cable program in the Tampa-St. Pete market. [SunSportsRays]
  • The Bucs had a big win in Pittsburgh with a touchdown in the final 30 seconds. Unfortunately, that will mask a ton of mistakes and what should have been an easy win. The ugliest point came on the next-to-last drive when the Bucs had first down on the 14 and threw 4 straight uncatchable passes into the endzone including a tailback pass when everybody in the world knew the Bucs would be passing. [JoeBucsFan]
  • The playoffs begin on Tuesday with the A’s playing in Kansas City, where the Royals will be making their first playoff appearance since 1985. Here is the full playoffs bracket.

9-28-2014 9-16-13 PM

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16 Comments

  1. Gus says:

    As I noted here in May, Molina was indeed on a way to a historically bad offesnive season, the worst in 100 years. Topkin's notes were great -- 4 runs in 240 or so plate appearances is almost impossible.

    The "offensive indifference"of the front office must stop, and it must stop at catcher next year. Of all the mistakes they have made in the Sterneberg era -- 2014 catching has to be near or at the very top of the list.

    I will miss baseball and the Rays, but not the 2014 Rays. In the opening month you could see this team had issues and they never really recovered (except Loney and Longoria). Sometimes you don't revert to the mean. Sometimes you are diminished and not well constructed. Starting the oldest catchers in the leage and the fattest SS in the league had predictable results.

    Good riddance Escobar and your "chrome" and your interfering agent; good riddance Molina and your weak stabs at balls that aren't on target; good riddance to an offense so woeful that it was better viewing to watch something else whenever Molina was due up in an inning.

    Good riddance to 2014; the season where World Series dreams of March became the sadness of summer, the departure of Price, the failures of Jennings and Myers (perhaps their collision in Boston encapsulated the season better than any other single moment) and utter SS and catching futility.

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  2. Mr. Smith 1980 says:

    I'm gonna let the end of the season sink in for a little while before I weigh-in on anything... between the Rays going quietly into the night and my Steelers playing down to the level of their opponent again, I can't think straight right now.

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  3. starmand says:

    The nature of the beast is like that. One year you are doing fine. The next year things topple.

    Here's the comfort. Call 2014 the year when the Rays regressed. As a whole. Including Raymond.

    It is what it is. As a Little Leaguer, I'd have a day when I went 0-4 with two errors. Next time, 3 HBP and a grounder to the pitcher which he completed unassisted.

    And then I went back the next week for more. 🙂

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  4. Jimmy Delach says:

    "Joe Maddon is not expecting any changes to the coaching staff. This is more about [b]Derek Shelton[/b] and less about Dave Martinez who is a strong candidate to be the next Astros manager."

    Of course this is all about Derek Shelton. Why on earth would any baseball manager that didn't get fired after finishing with the fewest runs scored in the history of the franchise (even worse than all 10 "Devil Rays" seasons mind you) stick with the hitting coach responsible for all this? The Rays have been a playoff team largely because of their pitching and not their offense. In the five seasons that Derek Shelton has served as the Rays hitting coach, the team went one-and-done in three playoff appearances (excluding winner-take-all playoff games) and missed the playoffs two other years. I am convinced that Joe Maddon and Derek Shelton must be golfing buddies during the offseason or something like that. How else can you explain "Shelty" coming back after such a disastrous season?!?!?

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  5. Dave L says:

    Scored less runs than the 98 D-Rays? Yes. Worse offense? Hardly. That was the height of the steroid era. McGuire hit 70 HR that year. the Yanks scored 965 runs and the Rangers 940. The DRays 620 was dead last 24 less than Montreal.

    The 2014 Rays had more hits than 5 teams on the AL and had the 4 most walks and the third least strikeouts. That led to a OPS+ of 96 which was higher than 6 teams. Our plate selection in the past helped our run productivity but not this year.

    Problems were that we were dead last in slugging, total bases, and next to last in SB and had the 4th most GDP. In the clutch we always choked or were unlucky which led us to lead the league in men LOB. Our BABIP was third to last which indicates weak contact, 3rd to last in HR, and partly due to chance

    As documented the shift monster we created came back to bite us in the ass in 2014 which was documented as much do to with bad luck as anything, as Corks link pointed out although many here do not seem to have gotten that part.

    Hitting per se wan't the main problem. It was a total lack of power and speed on the basepaths which led to the horrible slugging that killed us. That was the worst baserunning team of the Maddon era.

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    • Gus says:

      No matter how you measure it -- old or new metrics -- this was a really bad offensive team. Unlike others, I place the blame on the front office more so than Shelton. What batting coach could possibly help a guy like Molina? Also, don't the post-Rays struggles of Upton and Crawford and Pena show that maybe Shelton was getting as much out of flawed batters as could be expected?

      I thought it interesting that Longoria took a shot at Maddon for contsantly changing the lineups saying he wanted more stability in the line-up. Given how bad he was for the first two thirds of the year, I found that a bit rich. And it shows at least there is some frustration in the clubhouse with the offensive debacle that was the 2014 season.

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    • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

      I agree. The fact that the Rays were near the top of the list for LOB and GiDP shows you that the offense was there more so than the runs indicate. I think we did see a shift in mentality at the plate which will hopefully continue; less taking the first pitch and more hard first pitch swings. If that trend continues it could lend itself to some better power numbers.
      I never liked the defensive AB approach and would rather see aggression at the plate to make up for a general lack of power.

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  6. Jim says:

    How many walks does it take to produce an RBI? 4

    How many hits does it take to produce a RBI? 1

    How many times this year have we tried to "work the count" with a runner on? Getting behind in the count, swinging at a bad pitch, and either producing a pop up, a strike out, or a double play. The work the count crap is little league, except in MLB, they can throw strikes, it doesn't work and never will. The new motto of a ton of teams is quit the cute crap and 3 strikes, either a hit or a K. It works directly against teams like the Rays.

    Jesus even the umpires expand their zone and make us earn a base, just like little league. It's a failed philosophy. You can't even truly judge what your hitters are capable of hitting due to them constantly having two strikes on them.

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    • Dave L says:

      If our disciplined plate selection is so bad and kills us, why do we have the 4th fewest strikeouts in MLB?

      You give our offensive hitter talent level way too much respect.

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      • Jim says:

        Dave,
        We stunk at scoring runs. You can somehow cherry pick my statement and say we were 3rd in the AL in strikeouts. Yet what were we ranked in AVG with RISP in the AL? 13th? What was our ranking in DP's, Popups, and K's with RISP. I could care less if we walked with RISP because like I said, it doesn't score runs!!!!!!

        YOU HAVE TO DRIVE IN RUNS!!!! plain and simple. OBP means nothing with RISP if it is weighted with walks. How hard is that to comprehend? That's where the "take pitches" BS is flawed. Sure it may make the lack of walks and K's look great, but without a good average with RISP, you simply aren't going to produce runs. The hitter's get behind in the count, of simply don't swing at a 3-0 pitch. They would rather walk than swing the damn bat on a batters count. Yet in the scorebook, the increased their OBP, yet did nothing to help the team. Or they get to 2 strikes and swing defensive, thus not making good contact.

        The Ray's would rather play sabremetrics offense, and not swing the bat. And then claim that AVG. is some obsolete stat. When AVG is the MOST important stat with RISP. It dwarfs BB's and OBP. YOU GET PLAYERS IN BY HITS, SAC FLYS and GROUND OUTS, NOT WALKS. BUT please keep telling me how important OBP and Walks are. They don't mean shit with RISP.

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        • Dave L says:

          You are stuck in the past. Get over it. You are constantly comparing baseball 2014 with how it used to be.

          Hitting is harder than ever not just for us but for all of MLB.

          I saw plenty of runs walked in this year. For and against us BTW.

          The Rays approach is similar to most of MLB and its growing.

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          • Jim says:

            WALK don't drive in runs. It takes 4 walks to score a run, I don't care if it's 1914 or 2014, that's still the case.

            Walk that score runs vs hits that score runs is probably less than 1:20.

            The new pitching theory of 3 pitches, K, hit, or out will completely crush the Rays approach. Want proof, numbers don't lie. OBP looks good to a bunch of nerds, but it doesn't produce with RISP, when that OBP is padded with walks.

            Look at our king of OBP, Ben Zobrist. a whopping 52 RBI's. It looks great on paper, but it sucks in real life. 15th in the AL OBP, yet 66th in RBI's. That's the Rays way.

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  7. Dave L says:

    I mean 3rd fewest in the AL. The NL doest count with all those pitchers

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  8. Tom says:

    According to Fangraphs, the Rays actually swung at a higher percentage of pitches seen this year than they had since 2007. They swung at 45% this year but were between 44.0 and 44.8 from 2008-2013. In 2007 they swung at 48.2%.

    Of course these number do not necessarily validate taking lots of pitches. I would suspect pitchers throw fewer strikes to better hitters will generally have a lower swing percentage.

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    • Dave L says:

      Interestingly the 2014 Rays had the second lowest outside the zone swing percentage in all of MLB. Only the A's were lower. Thats impressive for a lousy offense.

      Contact rate of outside the zone was 10th in MLB.

      Inside the zone swing percentage the were 11th highest in MLB. and contact percentage they were 9th highest.

      Rays actually saw a lower than average percentage in MLB of first pitch strikes they were 22nd so its not like teams were pounding us early.

      Only the Blue jays were lower in 'Clutch' hitting. I am sure RISP is a big component of that. And our HR/FB percentage was 3rd from the bottom nearly half the rate of the Orioles.

      Our hitters continued to do what they have been trying to do, but the results weren't there. And we didn't drive the ball consistantly. And our few power bats werent there.

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  9. ed says:

    Yet we didn't come close to making the playoffs and when we did make the playoffs , we where usually one and done. Does derek shelton go to the plate to hit, no , all i know is since he has been here as hitting coach we have sucked on offense, i admit freely i don't know anything about sabermetrics and to tell you the truth i'm not interested, i know what i see on the field, normally a real good defense but horrible offense. I truly believe if the offense was a little more exciting the fans would be more interested, would they go to the games , i don't know, but baseball to me isn't like football where defense is exciting. Baseball is my favorite sport but recently i have found it to become increasingly boring. I guess since offense doesn't matter , molina will be back , as well as shelton. I liked the makeup of this team in the beginning of the year and still do, but if they don't do something to change the philosophy of the offense and make it watchable than next season isn't going to change.

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