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The Rays have lost four 1-0 games in August

Aug 29, 2012, 9:37 AM EDT

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It has been observed many times over the years that the results of one-run games hinge largely on luck. A bad bounce here or there. One pitch released just so. One little flare. Just one! A gorp, a groundball — a groundball with eyes — a dying quail, just one more dying quail … and a tie game can turn into a one-run win or loss.

It observed just this morning by one of our fine readers that the Orioles have been crazy-lucky in this regard this year, as they have won 13 straight one-run games. “The Orioles are so lucky that they crap leprechauns,” as it was so eloquently put.

The opposite can be said about the Tampa Bay Rays.  They lost 1-0 last night. Which is nothing new, as they have lost four 1-0 games in the month of August alone. That’s the most 1-0 games a team has lost since 1969. It’s the most an AL team has lost in a month since 1955.

Now, my earlier comments notwithstanding, that’s not all about luck. Losing a 7-6 ballgame is different than losing a 1-0 ballgame in some ways, it seems. When you get shut out a lot it suggests your offense stinks. And the Rays offense kind of stinks compared to the rest of the league. Behind them in the AL are only the Royals, the Indians the Mariners and the A’s.

The Rays are a good team, of course. But this is really something.

  1. pw38 - Aug 29, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    To make it worse they get perfected by Felix and then go spank the Angels four straight and then go back into inept offense mode. If not for their pitching this team would be in last place. Amazing to see what good pitching can do for a bad offensive team. Just imagine if the Rangers had the pitching staff of Tampa. They’d be unstoppable. As it is they just seem to have Tampa’s number and you have to wonder if the Rays are starting to think they’ll never beat the Rangers when it counts.

    • beefytrout - Aug 29, 2012 at 10:01 AM

      It’s much too early to be so brash, young padawan. There is still a lot of baseball to be played, and it could very well end up that the Rangers draw the Rays for a third year in a row in the ALDS. Sure, Texas has passed the tampa challenge so far in August, but October is a different beast entirely.

      • pw38 - Aug 29, 2012 at 10:46 AM

        Yes yes, I know, just feeling it a bit after two very good games against them. You are correct though; October is a different beast. The Rangers couldn’t beat NY in NY in the regular season in 2010 and they won when it counted. I’d like to see another Rangers/Rays series. These have been good games.

    • indaburg - Aug 29, 2012 at 3:48 PM

      I prefer the flip side of that coin. Imagine if the Rays had even half of the Rangers’ offense. Imagine if Hamilton wasn’t a complete f*** up when he was with the Rays. They would also be unstoppable. Sigh.

  2. theawesomersfranchise - Aug 29, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    I’d like to think that good managers win more 1 run games than they lose. Not sure if it’s based in any type of fact, but Im going with it.

  3. qacm - Aug 29, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    Subtle Bull Durham reference noted and appreciated.

  4. bobdira - Aug 29, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    The Rays are NOT a good TEAM. In fact if you break the game down into the three components of hitting, defense and pitching the Rays are a BAD team with incredibly good pitching. The effort to gain offense from the signings of Carlos Pena and Luke Scott did the opposite. Neither has delivered the offense and Luke, on the DL twice so far this year and the ineptitude of Pena at the plate has exposed an inadeqate offense for what it is. The defense at one time during the year was the second worst in baseball, to the point that the Rays had committed more errors by August than they did all last year.

    Pitching. Well, that’s another story. Up until last week the era of the entire staff for the month of August was below 2.00 at 1.98. It jumped a little, but is still a mark any team would drool over.

    And as far as managing. Who knows how good a manager Joe Maddon is this year. Given that pitching staff, it seems like Jim Hickey is the Manager of the year. Given that starr, what should Maddon’s winning percentage be?

    This is the same one and done team that made the playoffs in game 162. Unfortunately, that was the highlight in a rapid march to “one and done” last year. Friedmans efforts to bring in a run producer in Scott and Pena replacing Damon and Kotchman failed. The window on the incredible pitching remains open for the Rays for at least a few more years, but without a bold ($$$$) acquisition of offense no run to the world series is possible. There is no Atlanta Braves approach in the American League East. Ya gotta score runs to win in these here parts.

  5. stex52 - Aug 29, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    Rule of thumb I used for years. Not sure if it stands up to statistical analysis, but who cares? A good pitching team will never do much worse than .500, no matter how terrible the hitting is. A good hitting team with no pitching can easily lose 90 games.

  6. raysfan1 - Aug 29, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    I really wanted to snark at bobdira, but I can’t because he’s right. They need a first baseman who can hit.

  7. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Aug 29, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Local radio guys continue to defend hitting coach Derek Shelton, simply saying “this is all on the players” while giving no examples of why. And perhaps they’re right. Maybe this team simply can’t hit. But for them to continue along the same offensive path for 3 years without even TRYING anything new is, as Maddon often says about other patterns of trying the same thing repeatedly, the definition of insanity. And the sad fact is, they’ve slowly been getting worse through these past 3 seasons. The injuries this year were a valid excuse for a while, but we’ve been almost completely healthy during this month.

    There are many occasions in which Maddon’s stubbornness benefits the team. His positive attitude during extremely negative stretches works wonders, and there’s no questioning the overall great job he does with the team. But at some point, his loyalty and patience goes a little too far. There’s absolutely nothing to suggest that Shelton is making these guys hit better. He didn’t even do well in his previous stints and the team has slowly gotten worse since he’s arrived despite getting better on paper. Their approach at the plate never changes based on the situation, and that is perhaps the biggest concern. I really feel like a change in hitting coach needs to be made this offseason. As hitting is such a mental thing, simply bringing in a new face could potentially improve things quite a bit, and Lord knows they certainly can’t get a whole lot worse.

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