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Entries in Tampa Bay Rays (46)

Tuesday
Oct012013

Price Pounds Zone, Uses His D in Complete-Game Win

No American League starter has gone the distance more often than David Price in 2013, and his fourth complete game couldn't have been more clutch. Price vaulted the Rays into the playoffs last night, limiting the Rangers to seven hits in a 5-2 victory in Game 163 of the season. Now, Tampa will travel to Cleveland for another winner-talk all contest on Wednesday night.

Price has pitched with more finesse than power this season, posting his lowest strikeout rate (7.3 per nine innings pitched) since 2009 but also issuing walks at a career-low 1.3 per nine frames. His pound-the-zone approach was on display last night, as he threw 81 of his 118 pitches (68.6 percent) for strikes.

The 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner barely missed any bats, inducing a whiff just four times out of 55 swings (7.3 percent) that Rangers hitters took. But he didn't have to, thanks to outstanding command that generated bushels of ground balls. Check out Price's pitch location versus Texas:

Price's pitch location vs. Rangers, 9/30/13

Tampa's lefty ace tossed 18 percent of his pitches to the horizontal middle of the plate last night, below the 24 percent MLB average for starting pitchers this season and Price's 22 percent average for the year. He also jammed the Rangers' righty-heavy lineup, throwing inside 36 percent of the time (31 percent MLB average for lefty starters, 26 percent overall for Price in 2013).

Locating his stuff in on the hands of Texas hitters, Price induced 14 ground balls last night. That's a winning strategy, considering Rays infielders convert grounders into outs at the second-best clip (76.3 percent of the time) among AL clubs.

Opponent average on ground balls among AL teams, 2013

Monday
Sep302013

For the Rangers, Price May Be Right

David Price did not face the Texas Rangers this season which is a good thing, because if history is any predictor of future success, if Price had faced Texas in the first 162, there is a chance that tonight's play-in playoff would not be taking place.

So before you you look at the David Price vs. Martin Perez and say that this is a Tampa slam-dunk, take a look at the numbers.

Price has struggled against the Rangers

I Year W L W-L% ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO HBP WHIP
2009 0 2 .000 9.45 3 3 13.1 12 14 14 2 10 11 1 1.650
2010 0 0 3.00 1 1 6.0 5 2 2 0 5 8 0 1.667
2011 0 1 .000 3.21 2 2 14.0 13 5 5 1 3 13 0 1.143
2012 1 1 .500 6.97 2 2 10.1 16 8 8 2 1 9 0 1.645
Career Total 1 4 .200 5.98 8 8 43.2 46 29 29 5 19 41 1 1.489
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/30/2013.
In his eight career starts, Price has struggled
David Price vs. the Rangers
AVGSLUGOBPHRK/9BB/9XBH
David Price.274.429.34958.453.9216

Price vs.the 2008-12 Rangers

David Price vs the Rangers 2008-12
GABHHRXBHKBBP/PAMiss%ISOAVGSLUGOBP
Adrian Beltre723814603.7836.0%.261.348.609.348
Elvis Andrus817600354.3014.3%.000.353.353.522
Nelson Cruz612622123.9318.5%.500.5001.000.571
Ian Kinsler718313123.9010.8%.278.167.444.250
David Murphy510201514.0020.0%.100.200.300.250
Craig Gentry49201002.706.3%.111.222.333.222

Price vs current Rangers who weren't Rangers at the time

David Price vs Rangers who weren't Rangers 2008-12
GABHHRXBHKBBP/PAMiss%ISOAVGSLUGOBP
A.J. Pierzynski410200102.9213.0%.000.200.200.273
Alex Rios9231025533.6514.3%.435.435.870.500
Geovany Soto12100103.000.0%.000.500.500.500
Adam Rosales25100205.0016.7%.000.200.200.200

Breaking it down

Breaking Down David Price vs Rangers 2008-12
GABHHRXBHKBBP/PAMiss%ISOAVGSLUGOBP
Vs. Rangers Lefties8358011114.1619.2%.029.229.257.243
Vs. Rangers Righties81333851530184.0821.8%.188.286.474.375
Vs. Rangers in Texas47025491684.1616.0%.243.357.600.425
Vs. Rangers Lefties in Texas414400604.5318.4%.000.286.286.267
Vs. Rangers Righties in Texas45621491084.0715.3%.304.375.679.462

The Rangers vs. Price's fastball in Arlington

Righties feast:
  • Righties have hit .455/.586/.864 against David Price's fastball in Arlington.
  • Lefties have hit .286/.267/.286 against David Price's fastball in Arlington. Price has thrown 68 pitches against Rangers lefties in Texas, 66 have been fastballs.

Tonight it may come down to righties vs. Price's hard stuff

Price vs Righties in Texas 2008-12
PABHHRXBHKMiss%Chas%ClStk%P/PAAVGSLUGISO
Fastball14322102539.4%17.6%33.3%3.90.455.864.409
Slider31531208.3%22.2%26.3%3.00.6001.400.800
Change4111411230.4%40.0%33.3%5.00.364.636.273
Curve115100142.9%60.0%50.0%4.20.200.200.000
Cutter3910101410.5%23.1%55.0%4.42.100.200.100
Hard18232112679.7%18.5%37.3%4.05.344.656.313
Soft8321823326.2%34.9%31.7%4.36.381.714.333

There are no slam dunks in baseball.
Monday
Jul222013

Moore Love

Let it be soon, don't hesitate 
Make it now, don't wait 
Open your heart & let my love come in 
I want the moment to start when I can fill your heart with... 

I'm not sure whether it was Tampa Raytion or Matt Moore, but I could have sworn I heard someone singing the great Smokey Robinson hit, More Love or as they now call it "Moore Love."

Moore, like he has been in his six starts since June 20, was particularly brilliant last night.

More love, more joy 
Than age or time could ever destroy 
My love will be so sound 
It would take about 100 lifetimes 
To live it down, wear it down, tear it down 

Moore tossed only the 10th complete game shutout by a visitor at Fenway since 2000, and only the eighth that went nine innings

Rk Player Date Tm Rslt App,Dec IP H BB SO Pit Str GSc
1 Matt Moore 2013-07-22 TBR W 3-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 2 1 4 109 74 86
2 Bartolo Colon 2013-04-23 OAK W 13-0 SHO7 ,W 7.0 3 1 7 94 67 77
3 Roy Halladay 2009-09-30 TOR W 12-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 2 6 100 68 85
4 Brett Anderson 2009-07-06 OAK W 6-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 2 2 9 111 73 90
5 Felix Hernandez 2007-04-11 SEA W 3-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 1 2 6 111 69 89
6 Kameron Loe 2006-05-12 TEX W 6-0 SHO5 ,W 5.0 5 1 4 82 49 60
7 Mike Mussina 2002-08-28 NYY W 7-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 1 9 103 72 89
8 Mike Mussina 2001-09-02 NYY W 1-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 1 0 13 116 85 98
9 James Baldwin 2000-05-09 CHW W 6-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 1 8 102 71 88
10 Steve Trachsel 2000-05-06 TBD W 1-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 3 11 132 75 89
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/23/2013.

This is no fiction, this is no act 
This is real, it's a fact 
I'll always belong only to you 
Each day I'll be living to make sure I'm giving you... 

Since June 20

  • Moore is 6-0 with a 1.50 ERA.
  • Batters are just htting .143 against Moore.
  • Lefties are hitting .146, righties .141.
  • He's thrown 640 pitches, 398 for strikes.
  • Batters have swung at 281 pitches (43.9%) and missed on 84 (29.9%).
  • He's allowed 20 hits: 17 singles and three doubles.
  • He's struck out 44 and walked 17.
  • He's thrown 396 fastballs (61.9%) and batters are hitting .175.
  • He's thrown 137 changeups (21.4%) and batters are hitting .104.
  • He's thrown 107 sliders (16.7%) and batters are hitting .138.

More love, more joy 
Than age or time could ever destroy 
My love will be so sound 
It would take about 100 lifetimes 
To live it down, wear it down, tear it down 

It was scary for three games

Moore was 8-0 and then tossed a couple of no-decisions and then came three very scary games for the Rays love affair with Matt. 

  • From June 4 to 14, Moore went 0-3 with a 13.86 ERA.
  • Batters hit .448 against him, .444 against his fastball, .438 against the change-up, and .467 against the slider.
  • He threw 61.5% fastballs, 24.5% change-ups, 14% sliders, very close to what he has thrown during the hot streak. 

So, what's the difference?

This is no fiction, this is no act 
This is real, it's a fact 
I'll always belong only to you 
Each day I'll be living to make sure I'm giving you... 

You can see it by looking at the two heat maps and if you need further explanation, go see a realtor who can give you the best answer: Location, Location, Location.

So, what have we learned?

The bigger question to be answered is what has Moore learned?

It wasn't a difference in pitch speed:

  • During the slump Moore averaged a velocity of 88.4. His fastball was 92.1, his change was 83.9, his slider was 79.9.
  • During the hot streak, Moore has averaged a velocity of 88.8. His fastball was 92.7, his change was 83.8, his slider was 80.9.

As we grow older no need to fear 
When you need me I'll be here 
I'll be beside you every step of the way 
A heart that's truthful & keeping you youthful with... 

Moore has shown that at 24 years old, he is capable of making the necessary adjustments to his mechanics, to his psyche, to his performance, to succeed and he has done in mid-season. 

This is not to say that there won't be bumps on the road, but there is no question that Matt Moore is 14-3 and ready to go the distance not in just in games, but in the last months of the season, and undoubtedly in the postseason as well.

Listen to the Rays and their fans sing:

Moore love, moore joy 
Than age or time could ever destroy