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October 3, 2013

Playoff Prospectus

AL Wild Card Recap: Rays 4, Indians 0

by Sam Miller


We’re going to start with this picture

and we’re going to get our Photoshop fired up and put in a picture of, oh, an umpire getting hit by a thrown bat. There’s going to be a picture of Minnesota. We’ll figure out a way to put a picture of a low OBP in there. A picture of a yarmulke. A picture of Detroit. A picture of a major league outfield, with, like, bear traps all over it. A picture of Philadelphia. A picture of everybody on Twitter laughing at him. That’s the path Delmon Young took, from Rays first-overall pick to Rays postseason hero.

Should we have seen this coming, the third-inning home run off Danny Salazar that provided all the offense Alex Cobb (who, by the way: !!!!!!) would need? Somehow, Joe Maddon did. The Rays have been so good for the past six years at using platoons to make their lineups stronger, and Matt Joyce might be the best example of Maddon’s faith in them. When a right-hander is starting, Joyce is considered a slugger, batting first, second, third, fourth, or fifth 89 times this year. When a lefty is starting, Joyce bats as low as ninth. On back-to-back days, he’ll bat cleanup, and he'll bat ninth. But he hasn’t hit at all in the past month.089/.232/.143 in September—and Maddon went with the small-sample trend over his usual process. It’s the sort of decision that tends to drive us nuts when other managers make itit’s just 56 at-bats, for goodness sakes!but

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: NL... (10/03)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: NL... (10/03)
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Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: AL... (10/04)
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Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: AL... (10/04)

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