The Rays have won eight straight against the Marlins, outscoring them 51-13 in the process. The offense has clicked in interleague but has been a point of contention in 2012.
The Rays come in to this game tonight with the 10th worst team VORP at 55.8 while the team's TAv is 16th at .262. Last season, the team had the fifth-best VOPR at 175.3 and the fifth-bestTAv at .275. The injuries the Rays have had to deal with, most notably playing the last 40 games without superstar Evan Longoria, have certainly been an issue with the offensive struggles but that is only buying the team and hitting coach Derek Shelton in particular much of a break with fans. Earlier this season, the Angels dismissed longtime hitting coach Mickey Hatcher and some look at that move rather than adding Mike Trout as what has helped the Angels turn around their disastrous start to the season. That move was replicated by the Cubs this week as they dismissed the well-respected and well-paid hitting instructor Rudy Jaramillo.
Bradford lists the 163 teams that he's identified as top-heavy going back to 1950.
As I promised in my piece today on baseball Big 3s, I promised the complete list of teams that qualified under my definition of top-heavy. So here you go. If you're like me, it's a pleasure just to look at some of the player combinations that dominated their teams over the years. You can also get a sense for which teams were dominated by a single player, or a duo, even though we're calling these groupings "Big 3s".
Carlos Pena was a key part of the Rays hot start to the season. At a time when the team is missing key bats due to injury, the team is missing Pena's bat to ineffectiveness.
Carlos Pena limped through the Grapefruit League season and there was some worry within the Tampa Bay market that Pena going to be another big (for this market) contract signing gone awry. Joe Maddon was quick to defend Pena saying he liked where Pena's swing was at despite the numbers and those reviews were quickly verified on opening day when Pena hit a grand slam off CC Sabathia in his first plate appearance and also got the game-winning hit off Mariano Rivera.
Re-discovering the odd name on one of baseball's most famous lists.
As you've no doubt seen by now, the Brewers' Ryan Braun had three homers and a triple last night at Petco Park, piling up 15 total bases in the game. His triple was a gapper to right-center that wasn't especially close to going out of the park. In his first at-bat, he flew out to medium center field on a well-struck ball. It was a career night for the reigning MVP. His first three-homer game was also the first at Petco.
There are a lot of differences between the two parks in Chicago, especially for those trying to cover games.
CHICAGO -- In order to pick up a few extra bucks, I cover games for outlets like MLB.com and the Associated Press, in addition to representing Baseball Prospectus at the ballpark. Sunday was one of those days, and when I'm doubled up, I'll have to post my ITP entry before postgame access begins. If you want to read my words on the actual game, just pull up the write-up from ESPN or a billion other places. That's me, even if stringers don't get bylines.
White Sox unveil their new manager for his first home opener, Jim Leyland isn't saying much but Kenny Williams is, and something is askew around home plate.
CHICAGO -- Friday marked Robin Ventura's first home game in uniform as a member of the White Sox since Sept. 20, 1998. He was asked if he remembered his last game at then-Comiskey Park. He didn't. But of course, we can look it up. He went 1 for 3 with a walk against the Red Sox, batting behind Frank Thomas and Albert Belle.
On teaching patience, a nice old lady and a hilarious inning to a near-gem.
CHICAGO—One-four-four-five-four-one. No, that's not a Tommy Tutone update, it's the game-by-game run totals for the Cubs in their first six outings of the season. They broke out with eight runs off Milwaukee ace Zack Greinke on Thursday, but questions still abound about Chicago's offense.
Baseball has a way of turning the routine into something unforgettable.
CHICAGO | On a perfect summer Saturday afternoon in July of 1995, my girlfriend and I were walking down Clark Street about an hour before a Cubs-Phillies game with no plans to actually go inside the park. We hadn't planned ahead and figured we'd have to pay scalper's rates, so we were just out strolling around the Wrigleyville neighborhood, which we lived in at the time.
News and notes from Sunday's Nationals-Cubs game at Wrigley Field.
CHICAGO | The Nationals have a pair of projected regulars rehabbing at Double-A Harrisburg in Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel. With both expected to return within the next week or so, Washington has some roster decisions lying ahead.