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Rays finish four-game sweep in Anaheim

Aug 19, 2012, 6:56 PM EDT

Matt Moore Getty Images

The Rays couldn’t manage so much as a hit or a walk Wednesday in Felix Hernandez‘s perfect game, but look at what they did to the Angels’ starters in four games since:

Dan Haren: 3 2/3 IP, 7 H, 5 ER
Jered Weaver: 3 IP, 8 H, 9 ER
C.J. Wilson: 4 2/3 IP, 6 H, 7 ER
Zack Greinke: 6 IP, 7 H, 6 ER

That’s a combined $50.25 million worth of starting pitching, and the Rays just ate them alive on their way to sweeping a four-game series in Anaheim. They won 8-3 on Sunday and outscored the Angels a combined 37-14 in the four games.

The Rays now have the AL’s third-best record at 67-54, while the Angels have slipped to two games over .500 at 62-60. They’re not only nine games behind the Rangers, but they’re now four games back of the A’s for second place in the AL West.

Greinke has been a bust of an acquisition through five starts, going 1-2 with a 6.19 ERA. The Angels gave up three prospects to get him from Milwaukee last month, but they currently find themselves with the eighth-best record in the AL and they don’t stand to gain any compensation if he leaves as a free agent this winter.

The Rays, on the other hand, appear to be in fine position, particularly with Matt Moore having come on so strong. Moore was the winner today after allowing two runs in 6 1/3 innings. He hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his last seven starts. He’s gone from 5-6 with a 4.42 ERA to 10-7 with a 3.57 ERA during that span.

  1. hitem396 - Aug 19, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    cant buy me love~

  2. phillyphever - Aug 19, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    I’m starting to think Zach regrets not taking that deal the Brewers offered him. Oh well, guess he might still get his wish after all and play for a small market team (Arizona maybe?).

  3. beefytrout - Aug 19, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    The angels were 3 games out of first place when they made the ZG trade… ouch.

    • pw38 - Aug 19, 2012 at 11:27 PM

      It’s looking like that 11-10 loss to Texas really knocked this team for a loop. Amazing.

  4. gotampabay52 - Aug 19, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    go rays

  5. jagsfan11 - Aug 19, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    WOOHOO go rays

  6. hittfamily - Aug 19, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    This is the best team in the AL. The only question is will they be able to make up the 5 games they are currently down to the Yankees.

    Evan Longoria has sparked this offense which, with one perfect exception, has been nearly unstoppable since he returned. BJ has heated up. Matt Moore is a top 5 lefty his last dozen starts. Shields is 4-0 with an ERA under 2 since the deadline. Price is a top 3 candidate for the Cy Young award. Hellickson is the best #4 in baseball. JP Howell hasn’t allowed a run in 24 innings pitched. Rodney is having the greatest relief pitching season ever. Niemann is back in a week. Scott is back tuesday.

    This team can match anyone, and for the last month, all teams will be measuring themselves against the Rays.

    • indaburg - Aug 19, 2012 at 9:31 PM

      I also give credit to our little spark plug, Super Sam Fuld. Were you as stunned and ecstatic at last night’s comeback? That was just wild. Hope we play as well against KC. For whatever reason, those central teams give us a lot of trouble.

      • hittfamily - Aug 19, 2012 at 9:58 PM

        I turned the game off at 8-0 and took my laptop to bed. I monitored the mlb.com gamecast at various points. When we loaded the bases, I reached over and turned the radio broadcast on. Then Sean Rod got hit, and I decided i better go to the living room and flip the game on. When Zobrist hit the bases loaded double and made it 5-8, I woke my kids up because I screamed. When Longo took Wilson deep to make it 7-8, I screamed again. My wife was not happy, but I was delighted.

        The funniest part was how Wilson seemed genuinely pissed….not that he gave up 7 runs in 4 2/3, but that Soscia pulled him. I got on Halos Heaven to scroll through the live game comments while the game was going on. They were SOOOO pissed. I kept laughing at my computer reading some of the stuff written about the “effing rays and effing fatty soscia”, and how “maddon should be hired to replace him”.

        When Pena hit that bomb, the Angels fans were understandably upset. I mean, they were sounding like Sox fans last year. “Fire Soscia. Cut Wells. DFA Isringhausen. Trade the entire infield. This season is over”. Yesterday kind of reminded me of last year’s final game, but no where near the importance (the kids were allowed to stay up for that game). The similiarites of the 2 seasons are starting to excite me. 2 weeks ago, I was ready to trade Shields and Upton, and hope for a WC berth. 2 weeks later, I think every American league team has taken notice of us.

        I really am impressed with whichever scout said we should sign Keppinger. Dude is a lefty killer. I hope we bench Pena more against lefties. I really wish Brandon Guyer didn’t get hurt, because I think he would have really helped us against lefties.

        And finally, you are right. How bout that Sam Fuld. Time to platoon him with Jennings as far as I am concerned. Sam is probably better than Jennings right now, who just can’t make solid contact this year.

      • raysfan1 - Aug 19, 2012 at 10:17 PM

        …Keppinger…lefty killer…bench Pena more against lefties…

        Ditto. Platoon ‘em.

    • buddaley - Aug 20, 2012 at 1:21 AM

      I am a fanatic Rays fan, but I think you are exaggerating a bit. At some point in this season, the Yankees, White Sox, Tigers, Rangers and even Angels could legitimately claim to be the best team in the league. And every one of them has also had at least one down period &/or demonstrated some weakness.

      Right now the Rays are on a roll, and I think they have the pitching (and defense, I hope) to sustain a good record. But the offensive woes, while ameliorated somewhat by the return of Longoria and possibly with the imminent return of Scott, are still a concern, especially at catcher and shortstop should Zobrist prove inadequate over a longer period of time- and possibly at 1B as well. And the bench is not strong offensively, at least not if we consider the players’ career performance rather than just this year’s or the last month or so.

      Incidentally, not only is Rodney not having the greatest relief pitching season ever, he may not be having the best one this year. Not if we consider Chapman and Kimbrel for example, nor if we look at Gagne’s 2003 season or some of Eckersley’s performances. This is not to diminish what he is doing. He has been terrific; there is no need for hyperbole though.

      • hittfamily - Aug 20, 2012 at 6:56 AM

        If you are going to correct me, at least be freaking correct.

        Rodney has the 3rd lowest ERA ever for someone with 34 saves at this point in the season. EVER. The 2 better were Rob Murphy in 1986 (0.72 in 50.1 IP) and Eckersley in 1990 (0.61 in 73/1 IP).

        I’d rather have a .79 ERA on an AL team in 2012 than a .71 in the NL in 1986.

        Ignore Fangraphs pitching WAR. They hate the Rays. They think Josh Beckett and Tim Lincicum have had better seasons than Hellickson. The team was leading the league in errors and had 4 starters on the DL and they were still penalizing our pitchers for great defense.

      • hittfamily - Aug 20, 2012 at 7:07 AM

        I felt that my memory was wrong, so I looked it up. I remembered wrong. Take the saves out. Those are the only 2 relievers with 50 IP to have lower ERAs…ever. Not Gagne or Kimbrel.

    • buddaley - Aug 20, 2012 at 9:24 AM

      I am not correcting you. I am disagreeing with you. My guess is we disagree because we use different criteria to evaluate a reliever’s performance.

      I consider saves and ERA, especially for a reliever, very crude and minimally useful measures. I am more impressed by Chapman’s and Kimbrel’s 16.5 and 15.8 K/9 (and also their K percentages) for example. Actually, Eckersley’s 1990 numbers, both his traditional and progressive ones, outclass Rodney’s. And I do think Gagne’s 2003 with 82.1 innings pitched and 14.98 K/9 as well as other numbers was a better overall season as well as some of Rivera’s.

      I also don’t think that Fangraphs “hates” the Rays. That would mean they manipulated their calculation of WAR to debit numbers associated with the Rays and credit those they lack. The formulas don’t favor one team over another, and the numbers simply plug in. You may not like their formulas, but there is no bias.

      In any case, if you check Baseball Reference you will discover they too rate other relievers’ seasons better according to their calculation of WAR. While Kimbrel is not seen as good this year, Chapman’s is 3.1 so far while Rodney is at 2.4. Further, Gagne and Eckersley both had higher WARs their big years-higher enough that it is unlikely Rodney reaches it by the end of the year. And Rivera had 10 season over 3 (with three seasons over 4) according to BB-Ref.

      None of this is intended to suggest that Rodney has not been magnificent. And I have no objection to anyone claiming it is the best relief season of all time. But in my view, it is among the best but not “the greatest”.

      • hittfamily - Aug 20, 2012 at 9:53 AM

        Thank you for providing your reasons for disagreeing with me. I don’t disagree with you either. I hope you at least understand my frustrations with anyone, fellow Rays fan or not, who undermines a valid statement with a simple “you’re wrong”, with no follow up or explaination.

        I am fully aware fangraphs doesn’t alter their formula to penalize the Rays. I am also fully aware there are people who just look at WAR and say so and so is better. The Rays pitchers are penalized for being on a good defensive team, whether the team is good defensively or not. They currently have a DH playing right, a 2nd baseman playing 3rd, a 2b/RF playing SS, and a rookie no-defense catcher. That is not an elite defense.

        There are also pitchers whose metrics far overestimate their ability, and pitchers whose metrics vastly undervalue their contributions. Hellickson and Cain are extreme examples, but Price is undervalued by Fangraphs. There have been 19 pitchers to lead the league in ERA and Wins in a seaon. 18 have won the Cy Young award. Price currently leads both, but doesn’t stand a prayer because many voters look at Fangraphs, decide his War isn’t as high as Felix, Sale, Greinke and Verlander, and that dictates their voting strategy. Fangraphs vastly over rates Greinke. This has nothing to do with yesterday, just his work as a whole. He has the K rate and FB/HR rate that fangraphs loves, but he is not a legitimate #1 starter. He has never performed in high leverage situations, whereas Cain and Hellickson always seem to. Getting out of a jam takes skill. Their formula says they can only be lucky for so long, but the results say otherwise.

        As far as Rodney goes, when evaluating a pitchers contributions, I disagree. K rate means jack squat. That is a great way to value his future contributions, but not his past contributions. Inherited runners scoring, ERA, and IP are actual measurable contributions and on field performance, not should have been statistics. The should have been stats say James Shields was the same pitcher in 2010 and 2011, and that he was really unlucky, followed by very lucky. On field performance says otherwise though.

  7. raysfan1 - Aug 19, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    Helps that none of the Angels pitchers were Felix Hernandez.

  8. prosourcetalk - Aug 19, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    Rays are primed to make a deep run this fall

  9. rockthered1286 - Aug 19, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    Hold on there @hittfamily. My O’s are by no means using the Rays as their measuring stick. Last time I checked we came down to the trop and took the series away, including a W over Price. O’s have the 2nd best bullpen era in August behind the braves, and haven’t lost a series in their last 6 now. We came one bs blown call from sweeping the Tigers who are still hot right now, and with the bats of mark reynolds and Chris Davis heating up to join markakis jones and Weiters in the hit parade this team is on fire. Plus we’re looking at our best pitcher in Hammel coming back in a few weeks to join Chen, Stevie Johnson/Britton, Tillman and Miggy Gonzo in our rotation, and our confidence continues to build. This team is young, talented, and full of fight. We’re not going anywhere anytime soon folks.

    • DCBlueStar - Aug 19, 2012 at 9:44 PM

      Hold on @rockthered1286 – I believe the Rays have +65 run differential, while the Orioles sit at -43… Not only that, but the Rays have the best record against the AL East sitting at 27-20… Meanwhile the Yankees are 23-19, the Orioles are 24-20, the Redsox are 20-27 and the Blue Jays are 16-24.

      The Rays aren’t worried about your Orioles, or anyone. They’re out there taking it one game at a time. Good luck vs the Texas Rangers.

      Thanks in advance, Rangers.

      • pw38 - Aug 19, 2012 at 11:33 PM

        So that means Tampa has played more games against the East than the O’s have. Give them a three game series, let them sweep, and viola same record. Just sayin, don’t take east record at face value. Run differential is misleading as well. That just means the Rays have had more blow-out victories. The Rangers were plus 100 differential what back in June or July? They’ve come down a bit. I’m not saying it’s not an important stat but look at St. Louis. They have a high run differential too and they’re in 3rd place.

      • hittfamily - Aug 20, 2012 at 12:18 AM

        No, it means the O’s get blown out a lot, and squeak out victories.

        O’s are a nice team without a doubt, but their offense isn’t as good as the Rays now that Longo and Scott are back. Their bullpen isn’t as good. Their defense isn’t as good. Their #1 starter would be the Rays #4….in AAA Durham.

      • bmorelikeme - Aug 20, 2012 at 9:05 AM

        Luckily the standings are determined by Wins and Losses, not run differential.

      • DCBlueStar - Aug 24, 2012 at 5:35 PM

        No shit, Sherlock. No one said otherwise, but how likely is it that a team with a negative run differential stays afloat, makes the playoffs and wins the WS?

        Go ahead and find me a team that’s done it.

  10. jimatkins - Aug 19, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    Well, that season went up in smoke in not quite three weeks. Angel hitting is maddeningly inconsistent, and the pitching has turned into $50MM of nothing since the all-star break. I have a feeling somebody is going to be held responsible at the end of the year. Been an Angel fan since 1977, and this might be the only thing to compare to 1986 in sheer disappointment. One bright spot is Trout. That’s all we have to hold on to at this point. Massive suckage.

    • mkd - Aug 19, 2012 at 11:28 PM

      Mike Trout is your only bright spot? Man I just checked and the Angels rank third in baseball with a team fWAR of 25.5. I knew Mike Trout was good but I didn’t know he was that good! Or maybe it’s that there ARE other bright spots but you can’t see them right now because you’re a sad panda.

      You know what the one bright spot for the Mariners has been? John Jaso when he bats against righties and a Felix Hernandez perfect game. Just some perspective on what “massive suckage” actually looks like…

      • pw38 - Aug 19, 2012 at 11:35 PM

        Don’t forget you guys had like 18 pitchers combine for a no-hitter. That’s pretty cool.

      • jimatkins - Aug 20, 2012 at 11:50 AM

        I really shouldn’t comment when I’m massively depressed. Yes, it could be worse, but those teams didn’t come in with such high expectations. Trumbo is coming along into a great slugger, Aybar has been exceptional since coming off the DL, Albert has been Albert since he got going, and Hunter has been pretty good in the 2 spot in the lineup. Ianetta can actually hit, as opposed to anybody who caught for us since Napoli. Haren, Wilson and Greinke along with Isringhausen and most of the bullpen, make me want to curl up in fetal position.

    • db105 - Aug 20, 2012 at 1:31 AM

      Could be worse. If it weren’t for the injury to Wells the Angels would be worse off as Trout and Trumbo wouldn’t have had the opportunity to play because Scoscia would still have Trout in the minors and Trumbo on the bench. Currently Scioscia has Morales platooning with Wells. That’s laughable.

      • hittfamily - Aug 20, 2012 at 7:01 AM

        Are you saying that Scioscia likes over the hill veterans with inflated contracts instead of young, talented, hungry hard workers? That’s crazy! That would be like saying he only likes catchers who hit below the Mendoza line.

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