The Rays History of Offensive Anemia

If you read the site, then you should be aware that crazy happenstance can occur in small sample sizes. Even the most disciplined fan, soaked in rationality, is prone to feeling at least a little seasick after a five-game losing streak at home to start the season. The team’s current slash line is .136/.218/.260, or an OPS of 478. It’s enough to bring back memories of the Devil Rays –or is it?

The Rays have had 18 independent five-game stretches with a sub-500 OPS in the team’s 13-year history. Given how the Rays used to operate, it’s probably not too surprising that ineptitude carried over onto the field. What is a bit shocking, though, is the appearance of these arctic stretches during the well-ran era:

Even the best-laid plans sometimes must weather poor hitting, so where does this five-game stretch fit into the team’s record book?

In an astonishing turn, the worst five-game stretch occurred during the final week of the 2010 season, when the team hit for a cumulative 442 OPS. During that week, such pitching demigods as Bruce Chen and Kevin Millwood took the Rays behind the proverbial woodshed. Some may attempt to draw a connection between that stretch and this one, but the only ties are 1) the end of one season versus the beginning of another and 2) the majority of the games were played without Evan Longoria. It would be easy to point to one or the other, but there are so many unaccounted for variables that it’s just foolhardy to do so.

Streaks and slumps are a part of baseball. They give little indication as to when they will begin and end, and when they come at the beginning of the season, things are especially dire since there are no other results to mask their line-killing ways. There is no reason to panic about roster composition or the team’s chance of success moving forward based on this information.

The real problem is the Rays will now have to win 64.4 percent of their remaining home games should the goal be 90 wins (with a modest assumption of winning half their road games). A tall order –and one without much margin for additional error—but the good news is that a more exciting brand of baseball should be on the horizon –one more indicative of the team’s actual talent level.

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3 Responses to The Rays History of Offensive Anemia

  1. professortwain says:

    Very cool that you were able to document the fact that this type of poor hitting over a 5 game period is not so unusual and not indicative of a team that can’t win ball games. It’s been sad to see so many fans over interpreting this rough start and even booing players. It’s a long season and I think we have a lot of fun ahead.

    • Tommy Rancel says:

      The team is taking walks and working good at-bats. Even some of the balls put in play are just being hit right to defenders. If they continue to take their walks, once the BABIP regresses the offense should be ok.

  2. Pingback: Evan Longoria’s Protection is Overstated | The Process Report