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May 29, 2013

Painting the Black

The All-Hit, No-Pitch Rays

by R.J. Anderson


On Saturday afternoon the Rays entered the ninth inning with a 3-1 lead over the Yankees. Fernando Rodney—months removed from an historically great season, but scuffling early this year—recorded two quick outs, and appeared on his way to righting a capsizing ship. Instead Rodney jumped overboard. He allowed three hits and sprinkled in a balk on his way to blowing the save and forcing extra innings. The Yankees won the game after 11 innings and sent the Rays to their 16th loss of the season in which they held a lead, tied for the second most in the league, according to research by Baseball Prospectus' Ryan Lind.

The longer a team succeeds, the more their key characteristics define them. For the Rays that means synonymity with good pitching and defense. Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon have overseen five consecutive winning seasons—including three playoff berths—behind units capable of pitching and catching as well as any in the league. Yet this Rays team has followed Rodney's lead, wasting away strong offensive performances with shaky work on the mound and good-but-not-great defensive work. Now in the middle of an identity crisis, the Rays need to figure out if they can return to form, or survive by winning slugfests in the spirit of their AL East rivals.

Teams with the Most Losses in Games with a Lead. 2013

Team

Losses w/ Lead

% of Total L

HOU

18

50%

BAL

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: A Week... (05/29)
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