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WFNY Stats & Info: Eight intriguing Tampa Bay Rays stats

With the Tampa Bay Rays beating Texas 5-2 on Monday, here are eight fascinating facts to contribute to your water cooler conversations leading up to Wednesday night at Progressive Field.

1. Wednesday’s Tampa Bay starter Alex Cobb has been one of the most effective pitchers in baseball this season. He missed two months with a head injury, but he’s 5-1 with a 2.41 ERA in nine starts since his return on Aug. 15. That ERA ranks fifth-best in the American League during this span, which includes three straight dominant victories.

2. From July 3 through Sept. 23, All-Star third baseman Evan Longoria only had a .219/.306/.409 line in 314 plate appearances. One of the most consistently dominant players in baseball since his debut in 2008, he’s heating up to the tune of a 12-for-29 stretch with three doubles and three homers in the Rays’ last seven games.

3. One of Tampa Bay’s biggest weaknesses is its bullpen. The team’s relievers combined for a 3.67 ERA in the second half, second-worst for any playoff team (only Detroit was worse at 3.80; Cleveland had a 3.00 ERA.) In terms of ERA, their best reliever has been lefty Alex Torres (1.97 ERA in 58.0 IP), who began the season as a Triple-A starter.

4. The likely American League Rookie of the Year is 22-year-old Rays right fielder Wil Myers. Acquired from Kansas City in the controversial James Shields trade, Myers led the team with .293/.354/.478 line in 373 plate appearances since his June 18 debut. He had 38 homers, 136 RBI and a .910 OPS in 163 Triple-A games.

5. The Rays have ranked as one of the better defensive teams for several years, including in 2013. Longoria, shortstop Yunel Escobar and second baseman Ben Zobrist all had 10+ UZR at those positions. Those three and first baseman James Loney all were at least four runs above average defensively too, per Baseball-Reference.com.

6. After starting the season with a 5-10 record, the Rays were baseball’s best team for a near-three-and-a-half month stretch. They went 59-33 from April 19 through July 30. Of course, that means Tampa Bay then finished the season with a 14-23 fall followed by a 14-5 sprint to make the tiebreaker game against Texas.

7. The average absolute margin of victories in the six Rays-Indians games this season: 7.2. The Indians were 2-4 in those games, being out-scored 23-30. But none of the contests were particularly close: There were four shutouts, with the closest margin being just four. (h/t @WFNYKirk)

8. Tampa Bay and Texas are the only two teams to win 90-plus games in each of the last four seasons. During this span, Tampa Bay has allowed the fewest runs in the AL — just 3.83 runs per contest.

[Related: When a Win is more than a Win]

  • You said ‘intriguing’, but I think the word you meant was ‘terrifying’. I was really hoping to play Texas instead of Tampa. Hopefully the sold out Jake can help will the Indians to overcome some of these impressive Tampa stats.

  • Natedawg86

    Need to be patient at the plate (like we have been) and get Cobb’s pitch count up. If you look up his stats he has not won 4 games in a row this season (won 3 in a row a few times followed by a loss). He throws about 60-65 percent strikes. Need to put the heat on them and score one early!

  • Kyle B

    Alex Cobb is 11-3. Can’t have 4 losses since coming back

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Those stats are daunting and the only thing that gives me peace is knowing that this is a one-game playoff. Anything can happen in one game. Cobb could get rattled by the crowd, could pull a muscle, could leave one pitch over the plate that is deposited for a game-winning home run. That impressive Rays infield could boot three balls in a single inning. The umpires could blow this one for the Rays. One game baby… keep hope alive! #RollTribe

  • WFNYJacob

    Good spot. Rays are 5-4 in his starts since he came back. Will change.

  • Jaker

    Crowd needs to be into this BIG TIME. This is a confident team with a lot of experience. Need to get on Cobb early.

  • Daniel Carroll

    Not to discount this, its great information put together by Jacob, but…I think we can throw everything out the window. I agree with Pat, a one game playoff just makes this a different scenario. They have guys that are hot, we have guys that are hot. It’s going to come down to who can keep their nerves in check, who can strike early, and which bullpen can shut the other team down and make the game shorter. If anything, I like the Tribe just because I give Tito the slight edge over Maddon this year.

    If we lose…I’ll still always remember this amazing ride. Still, I think the Tribe steps up in this game. I think everyone is clicking at the right time, and I think Francona knows his guys SO WELL, that the minute he needs to make a move it will happen.

    Prediction: 6-4 tribe. Salazar gives up 3 through 6. The bullpen gets us through the 7th and through the middle of the 8th. Masterson comes in and gets the last 4 or 5 outs. And somewhere in this game Brantley and Swisher get big hits. Sounds pretty familiar to what we’ve been seeing all month!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I agree just commented on this in another section.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    If the crowd isn’t into it they will never be and while Cobb has been pitching well (snagged him in multiple fantasy leagues when he returned from his injury) at least he’s not Price or Moore. I’m really glad the Indians avoided Moore.

  • JK

    Meh. I was rooting for TB.

    I’d rather take my chances not against w them instead of Darvish and that lineup with Cruz back. Both are tough outs obviously but I think this is a slightly better matchup.

  • Hopwin

    I was telling my friend that I wanted to play Texas too because they have elevated choking to the point where they are arteeeests.

  • Harv 21

    Fully agree. Hitters have to calm themselves and jack up that pitch count as if there’s the usual 11,297 in attendance. Cobb will also be jacked, so this is very possible.

  • Steve

    Very tough matchup for us. This is the kind of guy who we struggle with. Mixes in a lot of offspeed.

  • Root4Cleveland

    Sold out? Don’t you think that will make it feel a little less homey? Out of place, even?

    Too bad.

  • Petefranklin

    I’m hoping Cobb gets a little squeezed by the umpire, while Salazar gets a slightly expanded zone. This would bode well for Bud and MLB as Tampa does absolutely nothing to improve TV ratings. Hopefully the ump is well aware that Bud wants the Tribe to win so he doesn’t have to worry about a not so sold out Tampa Dome vs. the Sox. I’ll never forget Sabathia getting no calls on the black in ’07 while he seemed to get them all with the Yanks in the playoffs. These umps know why they are there and it is to make MLB money. The Tribe will make more money for MLB than the Rays. ROLLLL TRIBE!!!


    Darvish pitched Sunday. I liked our chances against Texas’s #3 starter better than against Cobb.


    If 4-time gold-glover Tony Fernandez can boot a ball in the 11th inning of game 7 of the World Series…

    Ugh. That made my stomach hurt just typing it.

    More apt, if Brandon Phillips, who Tim McCarver said over the weekend (I heard it live on the air) was “the best second baseman [he’d] ever seen” can drop an easy double-play ball with the bases loaded to allow a run to score, anything is possible.


    The Tampa Dome would be sold out. It would just be that 60% of the people there would be Red Sox fans.

  • JK

    He could have gone on 3 days…


    Pitching Sunday/Wednesday isn’t three days’ rest. It’s two days’ rest.

    Also, not so sure the Rangers would have been able to ask him to…


  • JK

    Interesting. Didn’t know that, looks like I was rooting for the wrong team. Heh. Oh well, we still got this.


    Yeah, it’d be great if I wasn’t so completely “Cleveland Fan’d” and thought we were just good enough to beat whomever. But, I’m old enough not to feel that way. 🙂

  • The_Real_Shamrock