For a lot of you out there, you might not know a whole lot about this Tampa Bay Rays team. I’m sure there are a number of players you can name, but what does this 28-man roster really consist of?
Here is where Tampa Bay finished in the American League during the regular season:
Runs: 289 (6th)
Hits: 470 (9th)
Home runs: 80 (7th)
Strikeouts: 608 (1st)
Average: .238 (11th)
OPS: .753 (6th)
wRC+: 109 (4th)
Regular season leaders
Here are the players who led the team in different offensive categories:
Runs: 36 (Brandon Lowe)
Hits: 52 (Brandon Lowe)
Home runs: 14 (Brandon Lowe)
Strikeouts: 37 (Brandon Lowe)
OPS (min. 100 PA): .916 (Brandon Lowe)
wRC+: 150 (Brandon Lowe)
So basically, a whole lot of Brandon Lowe, who was easily their best hitter during the regular season.
Here is how Tampa Bay has done through their 14 postseason games.
Runs: 4.07 per game
Hits: 6.64 per game
Home runs: 1.79 per game
Strikeouts: 10.71 per game
As you can see from above, the Rays’ offense has been fairly quiet, especially for being a World Series team. They’re not hitting for average or scoring a lot of runs. They are also striking out a ton. What’s led them to this point is their pitching, along with being very reliant on the long ball. Their 25 home runs are the most by any team this postseason. They’ve hit seven more than the Dodgers have.
This is largely due to the play of their rookie, Randy Arozarena, who has taken the MLB by storm. You could make the case he’s been the best player all postseason. He is hitting .382/.433/.855/1.288 with seven home runs and 10 RBI. He has 21 hits and has scored 14 runs and is fresh off of winning ALCS MVP honors. Arozarena was a fantastic hitter during the regular season, but he has really taken his game to another level in October.
Another hot hitter for the Rays this postseason has been Manuel Margot, who has an OPS of just under 1.000 with five homers. Him along with Arozarena have easily been two of the best hitters in October across all of baseball.
This offense isn’t filled with firepower like the Padres and Braves lineups were, but they’ve been doing their damage this postseason. Don’t let the regular season numbers fool you, because that means nothing in October. When you get hot at the right time, anything is possible.
For the most part, this is a team that doesn’t really hit for power. They also strike out a ton, which should really bode well for the Dodgers in this series.
If the Dodgers’ pitching can pitch the way they did all season, this can be an extremely difficult series for the Rays and their bats. But, as we’ve seen in World Series’ past (STEVE PEARCE???) anything is possible.