Tampa Bay Rays news and links: The Souza game
The Souza season?
Steven Souza went a bit crazy on the base paths against John Lester. He took giant leads, got almost picked off twice, but in the end exploited Lester’s troubles throwing to steal two bases, and seemed to unsettle Lester in the process. After the game, he explained his plan.
Just trying to get a big lead and go.
There’s more interview in the link above. Souza also hit his 30th home run, and talked about how thankful he is for a healthy season.
— FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) September 21, 2017
Baseball players give interviews as strings of cliches. It’s what they’re expected to do. It’s weird. It’s nice to see that Archer also seems to think it’s weird.
For those of you wondering what Danny Espinosa was doing out there at second base while the Rays were in the middle of a fading playoff push, the answer appears to have been “keeping a roster spot warm for Xavier Cedeno.”
#Rays outright Espinosa off 40/man roster to make room for Cedeno coming off 60-day DL
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) September 21, 2017
Speaking of Cedeno, he helped Triple-A Durham win the championship while rehabbing. Bill Chastain wrote about the Bulls’ win, and there’s a money quote in there from Chaim Bloom that touches on how the Rays seem to think about minor league playoffs:
“When it comes to the Minor Leagues, we always focus on development first,” Bloom said. “With that said, winning is part of development. We like to think that if we develop well, then winning is going to be a byproduct of that. And that playoff experience, having to come through in those big games and pressure situations, is really, really good for these guys.”
- Adam talked about how Steven Souza Jr. became the eighth Ray to hit 30 home runs in a single season.
- Marc Topkin wrote about Ben Zobrist being one of the best Rays ever. No argument here.
- The Rays instructional league roster was announced, with Brendan McKay, Lucius Fox, and Wander Franco highlighting the group.
- Jim Turvey investigated whether playing in a “soft” (filled with not-great teams) division hurts a team’s chances in the postseason. I think you can guess the answer, but read his article anyway, because it’s Jim, and because #science needs people to check on answers you can probably guess. Also, isn’t it grand that the Rays don’t have to worry about this?
- To qualify for the ERA title a pitcher must pitch 162 innings. This is used as a shorthand way to group all the starting pitchers who pitched a full season. But, as Rob Mains writes, fewer and fewer pitchers actually reach this threshold (Chris Archer and Alex Cobb are passed it, Jake Odorizzi and Blake Snell will probably not reach it). Does it remain a useful concept?
- A 3-0 bunt.
- Good work from Eric Longenhagen on projecting future defense from 17-year-old bodies.
- Nate Silver wrote that the media does a bad job understanding and reporting on probability and uncertainty. It features an AP tweet about Tampa and St. Pete. Baseball fans, I’d like to think, get probability better than most laymen. People from Tampa Bay, I’d like to think, understand how close the two cities are (yes, I know they seem further apart in rush hour) better than most laymen. That makes this article something that baseball fans in Tampa Bay should identify with more than anyone else in the world.
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